When it comes to branding, what's in a name, anyway?

As our famous lovestruck protagonist, Juliet, proclaimed, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” While Shakespeare was a brilliant writer, he was no branding expert. Choosing a name to represent your brand is an important process, and one that should be well thought out.

Questions to think about when choosing a brand name:

Check out these examples of famous brands that changed their names! Do you recognize any of the original names?

 

1. Cadabra ⇒ Amazon

The original name of “Amazon” was “Cadabra,” due to the magic of ordering books online and then abracadabra! it’s on your doorstep. After it was misheard as “Cadaver,” the entire brand name was changed in order to avoid any potentially morbid confusion by consumers.

 

2. Facesmash ⇒ Facebook

“Facesmash” was originally created in order to compare the aesthetics of Harvard students. The name was taken by the private “facebook” inventory the school used in order to identify students. When Harvard killed the “Facesmash” initiative, “thefacebook.com” was born shortly after, ultimately shortening it to simply “Facebook.”

 

3. BackRub ⇒ Google

“BackRub” was replaced by “Google,” which the creators felt more closely aligned with their mission of bringing an infinite (or close to it) amount of information to users.

 

4. Sound of Music ⇒ Best Buy

After a natural disaster left “Sound of Music’s” most profitable store damaged, they held a “best buy” promotion to get rid of merchandise, which resulted in extremely high sales. The company decided to change its entire name, hoping to entice “best buy” thinking at all of their stores.

 

5. Brad’s Drin k⇒ Pepsi-Cola

Unfortunate circumstances lead Caleb Bradham back home to open a drug store in North Carolina. During this time, he created a drink and named it after himself, “Brad’s Cola.” This drink became so popular that he decided to rebrand in order to help consumers understand that this “healthy soda” helped with digestion, much like the drug pepsin and thus, “Pepsi-Cola” was born.

 

6. Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo ⇒ Sony

Due to difficulties for global consumers to pronounce, “Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo” was renamed simply as “Sony.”

 

7. Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web ⇒ Yahoo

Named after one of the creators, “Jerry’s Guide” would be soon changed to “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” or as we know it, “Yahoo.”

 

8. Research in Motion ⇒ Blackberry

In a hopeful attempt to save a dying brand, “Research in Motion” changed their name to “Blackberry.” Unfortunately, the effort was in vain and the brand could not be saved. 

 

9. AuctionWeb ⇒ eBay

Again, another case of mistaken identity. “eBay” was the name the media gave to “AuctionWeb” and to stick with brand awareness and consistency, the company decided to make the switch official. 

 

Needless to say, it’s been bit of a tough year for the Belgian chocolate company, Isis, who has since changed their name to Libeert, which was probably for the best. 

 

Source: CNBC 2015