This is not the case with Adidas or Puma, which have been part of the collective imagination since the late 40s. Strong brands with deep recognition and consistent naming.
Not that the brothers were very original when naming… from the Dassler Brothers shoe factory they went to Adidas (which comes from ADI, short for Adolf, and the first three letters of Dassler). Puma is Rudy’s version of the first two letters of the name and surname, with which they formed Ruda, which soon acquired its current form.
This is not the only example of naming that results from the association of concepts. In the field of non-custodial contractions, we have lego, which is an ellipsis of the Danish phrase “leg” + “god” and means “to play well”. In 1934, with only 6 employees, the company decided to figure out what would become its identity. What could be a better option than opening a competition among employees to name the company? Nothing can go wrong. Nothing went wrong and the new namesake got a bottle of wine as a prize.
5 brands that changed their names
But for some brands nothing is eternal, not even the name. Whether due to registration problems, negative connotations in various regions or their obsolescence (brands no longer stand the test of time), there are many who have had to face name changes with disparate results.
- The day Frigo decided to rename her famous Comtessa, a kitten Power Point stopped being sent to the other side of the world. And things got worse. Viennetta was never accepted by users and Frigo had to undergo a name change. The original problem was a registration issue with the product. In fact, Frigo himself is an expert in names. More than 20! Only in Spanish do we know it as holland in Mexico, tío rico in Venezuela, bresler in Chile and Bolivia, pinguino in Ecuador, and of course frigo in Spain.
- The Mallory Battery Company was born out of a 1920 meeting between scientist Samuel Reuben and tungsten wire manufacturer PR Mallory, which was transformed more than 40 years later into its current name: Duracell. It was in 1965 when the former company of PR Mallory was renamed after the most famous camera companies, Kodak and Polaroid. From there it was only a step to travel to space within the Apollo 11 mission. One small step for man, one giant step for humanity.
- Mr. Proper is not Mr. Clean. That’s what everyone born around the ’80s thought when Procter & Gamble decided to orphan an entire generation of Mr. Proper. The parent brand’s policy in terms of naming is, and always was, to translate its name in each country. Mr. Clean in America, Mr. Proper in Germany, Monsieur Proper in France, Maestro Limpio in Mexico. But when he arrived in Spain in 1982, Mr. Limpio was very fluent for him, but not for Mr. Propper’s combination of English and German, who was welcomed into every household as another.
- Türkiye is not Türkiye. President Erdogan reached that conclusion when he decided to change the official name of Turkey, Turkey, and opted for Türkiye. the reason? The semantic confusion that the word turkey derives from in English (see a simple Google search). Result? From 2022, Türkiye is the name used in all official activities and communications of the country Turkey.
- A vaccine named WiFi. Twitter is always the place for the agile mind. That’s why when AstraZeneca decided to change the name of its vaccine in 2021, the reactions were immediate. Quoting @CarlaBotb-1abr: “They changed the name of the AstraZeneca lab to the Wi-Fi password ‘VaXZevria’ and now I am unable to remember it”. The problem that led to the rebranding was the negative connotation that the brand was accumulating due to its association with distribution problems and affairs. for what reason? A general chat in the Twitter yard.
Brands That Didn’t Think About It And Still…
The world is full of name changes! Who knew Nintendo was originally a Marufuku company or Pepsi, Brad’s drink? Who remembers Pixar before Pixar (the graphics group) or even before Steve Jobs? Who would believe that before there was Google, BackRub or Amazon, there was Cadabra before it was giant? And of course who would have thought that Yahoo!, which by the way exists, was David and Jerry’s Guide to the Work Wide Web.
There are people who turned on time and it turned out fine. They sought a nomenclature that would make them unique, distinct, recognizable and universal. A basic rule that car manufacturers often forget: that your name must be registrable in all countries of sale and without negative connotations. The most famous case is the Mitsubishi Pajero (renamed Mitsubishi Montero), but we also have the Hyundai Kona (which runs proudly in the Galicia) or the Nissan Moço.
The key not to fail at naming
The arduous process of naming is based on three fundamental pillars and the One True God:
- One of the characteristics of nomenclature is its desire for permanence. The flexibility of the name ensures the longevity of the brand.
- A name should be distinctive, memorable, and neutral so as not to fall into obsolescence due to fashion and temporality.
- A good naming is free from negative connotations and connotations. This means that the meaning and symbols should be traced in all areas of application of the brand.
In short, whether abstract or descriptive, a naming allows for the development of a brand. This guarantees its existence beyond space and time. Like adidas.