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What’s in a Name? June 25, 2008

Posted by Amanda in Mouse Clicks.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A lot goes into deciding on a company name… most of the time.  Toby over at Diva Marketing recently highlighted some interesting trivia about well known company names.

Did you know Google was a misspelling, HP was named by a coin toss  and Yahoo! was from a classic novel? A look at how some of the most successful technology firms – from Apple to Yahoo! – got their groove er .. name!

Here’s a few additions to the list, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Adobe Systems LogoAdobe Systems was named for the Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of co-founder John Warnock.


Amazon.com was also named after a river. Founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company Amazon (from the earlier name of Cadabra.com) after the world’s most voluminous river. He saw the potential for a larger volume of sales in an online (as opposed to a bricks and mortar) bookstore.

Coca-Cola was derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the ‘K’ of kola to ‘C’ to make the name look better.

Häagen-Dazs is a name that was invented in 1961 by ice-cream makers Reuben and Rose Mattus of the Bronx “to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship”. The name has no meaning!

Eastman Kodak Company logoBoth the Kodak camera and the name were the invention of founder George Eastman. The letter “K” was a favorite with Eastman; he felt it a strong and incisive letter. He tried out various combinations of words starting and ending with “K”. He saw three advantages in the name. It had the merits of a trademark word, would not be mis-pronounced and the name did not resemble anything in the art. There is a misconception that the name was chosen because of its similarity to the sound produced by the shutter of the camera.

Nestlé is named after its founder, Henri Nestlé, who was born in Germany under the name “Nestle”, which is German (actually, Swabian diminutive) for “bird’s nest”. That is why the company logo is a bird’s nest with a mother bird and two chicks.

See Toby’s article, with more unique company names, here.