What’s in a Name?

How Some of the Most Famous Companies Created Their Branding Identities

Mar 21, 2017 | Branding, Business

Tangible Strategies | Small Business Marketing Greenville SC | What's in a Name: How Great Companies Created Their Branding Identity

What’s in a name? Brand recognition, admiration, and connection. That’s why companies like Apple, Google, and Starbucks click so easily in our minds: they have names that are simple, easy, and immediate. Most of these companies, though, didn’t start out with the names that we know and love. We’ll explore how branding can grow a business in this post:

BackRub to Google

Ever heard of a search engine called BackRub? We haven’t either. Ever heard of a search engine called Google? Everyone has. Most people don’t know that the two are one in the same. In 1995 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had a meeting of the minds. A year later, in 1996, they collaborated on a search engine called BackRub for Stanford students, but it ended up crashing the servers because it was too large.

Then came September 15, 1997. The two registered Google.com as an official domain, and the rest is history. Larry and Sergey wanted to create a way that people could organize and search information forever, and this is our first plan of attack any time we have a question to answer or a problem to solve.

Even if you didn’t know the origin of the Google name or its process, it’s a household fix. Anything you ever want to find out exists on the search engine, and we are so glad for that. Any aspirations to create an online giant? Take your branding inspiration from Larry and Sergey.

Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike

Have an idea to change the name for your company? Just do it. Nike wins the blue ribbon for one of the most normal-sounding names of all of the first misnomers of these giant businesses. Blue Ribbon Sports was founded in 1964, but not for the reasons that Nike exists today. Onitsuka Tiger, a Japanese shoemaker, used Blue Ribbon Sports as a distributor.

The Nike as we know it became official in 1971. The name Nike comes from the Greek goddess of victory. The genius who coined the Nike moniker was the first employee, Jeff Johnson. Thanks, Jeff, for a catchy and simplistic name, also known by the “swoosh.”

Whether it’s Nike, the swoosh, or the motto, Nike’s integrity remains the same. We love that a company can use its branding powers for good and create a great brand simultaneously. The Greek goddess of victory is certainly smiling down on Nike.

Qwikster to Netflix

Netflix is quick, and so was Qwikster. The admittedly strange name of Qwikster began the empire of streaming video service and even DVD mailing, which was a terrible disaster. It cost too much money, so it only lasted a few weeks.

In 2011, everything changed. Netflix became what we know today: the always-there, endlessly-enjoyable video service where everything on TV lives forever. You can find those childhood gems, those irresistible TV shows, and those obscure documentaries for your viewing pleasure.

What is the branding legacy of Netflix? Will it continue to monopolize the world of video streaming? What would we do without it? It’s magical that we can access that amount of information instantaneously.

Brad’s Drink to Pepsi-Cola

Who is the mysterious Brad? Caleb Bradham, a North Carolina native, was a drugstore pharmacy apprentice with an idea. Bradham’s Drug Store, his pride and joy, became the birthplace of what we know as Pepsi-Cola in 1893. Its original name was “Brad’s Drink,” after the man himself.

August 28, 1898 saw the emergence of the name, “Pepsi-Cola.” Just four short years later, the company was created and even trademarked the Pepsi name. As with most of these businesses, the combination of letters means nothing without the impressive qualities of the brand behind it.

The constant debate of Pepsi vs. Coke is one that will never end, but we applaud Pepsi for its innovation, its branding, and its commitment to humble beginnings. You can still visit the site of Bradham’s Drug Store to see where everything started. Thanks to Caleb Bradham, there is now a soda revolution.

Tangerines and Tangible Strategies

Want to know how we created Tangible Strategies? Check out this Instagram feature on our awesome boss, Anthony. He explains the creative decisions behind Tangible Strategies, the bright tangerine logo, and the memory factor behind names and logos.

Not only do we love the creative process and brainstorming about these fun things, but we’d love to help you too. Here is even more about the new direction our business is taking and our excitement for the journey.

You Name It, We Will Help!

Brand names matter. Whether it’s short and sweet or it evokes the feeling of the brand, the name is important. What did we learn from these brands? Most of these are not words that are in our normal vocabulary, but they stick with us, show us to the brand, and identify the way we associate with the brands on a day-to-day- basis. Do you want to change your business name? We can help!