Growth

What’s in a business name?

Kirsty Dunphey /

Did you know iconic fashion chain Zara was originally going to be called Zorba – but ran into difficulties because there was a bar in their local town with the same name. So they kept the Z and improvised.

Did you know Adolf founded Adidas? Adolf Dassler, that is, and his nickname Adi provided the basis for the name.

The company 3M, probably best known to you for the post-it notes sitting on your desk right now, was originally called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company! Yup, I think 3M was probably a good choice and a great example of something morphing as a company’s focus changed.

At our real estate agency we get someone calling every day asking for “Allison” – it seems voice to text likes to change “Elephant property” to “Allison Property”. Oh well, we also have fabulous name recognition because we chose to call our business something a little different to the standard.

Lego is a combination of Danish words to mean “play well”. Brilliantly, and apparently coincidentally, it’s also Latin for “I put together”.

Facebook, or “the facebook” as it was originally called, was named after a book given out at American universities to help students get to know each other.

Ultimately, whatever business name you choose is, of course, important. But far less important than what you do once you’ve made that first decision.

Who’d have thought we’d all be buying books from a river (Amazon), or that a surname of the somewhat obscure founding brothers would sell more hamburgers than any other organisation in the world (McDonald’s) or that the world’s largest online auction house was a back-up name (eBay was originally EchoBay but morphed when the domain name couldn’t be registered).

 

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