Names

First appeared in ‘Succeed’ (South Africa.)

Perhaps the ultimate symbol for a company is the name. This is the focus; it’s what people (hopefully) remember. Would Ben and Jerry’s have been as successful if they’d been Cohen and Greenfield‘s? Would IBM be as world-renowned if they’d stuck with their original title – Computer Tabulating and Recording Company? Ryanair were going to be called Trans Tipperary – not quite as dynamic. Intel could have been named Moore Noyce if Moore and Noyce could have registered the name before a hotel company did. Goldwyn Pictures (Later part of MGM) was named as a combination of Samuel Goldfish and Edgar and Archibald Selwyn. A different combination could have been Fishsel or Selfish. Would Mitel have flourished under the full name of Mike and Terry’s Lawnmowers? Or Psion as Potter Scientific Instruments Or Nothing?

Looking at the film and TV industry it’s hard to imagine John Wayne winning an Oscar as Marion Morrison? Would ‘Dad’s Army’ have been such a huge show if it had kept the title; ‘The Fighting Tigers?’ Would ‘Pretty Woman’ have been such a huge success if it had been marketed under the German title – ‘I’m Rich But I Like Cheap Prostitutes’ – one from the Pan’s People school of interpretation?

Some brand names seem to have chosen wisely – Maxwell House was, thankfully, named after the hotel the meetings were held at rather than the owner (Joel Cheek). KANGOL (the clothing company with a billion dollar turnover) was named after the three materials used to make berets in the Second World War (silK, ANGora and woOL). It could have been far worse

It can get even worse. There is the story of the new Italian executive for PowerGen rushing to impress his bosses and securing copyright on the name Powergen Italia!

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