A recent advertisement on the television grabbed my attention. It was the handsome Virat Kohli munching on some ‘healthy’ snacks. The brand name, ‘Too Yumm’. Really? I would have liked it if it was a positioning line for a brand, but if it is good for a brand name is a topic of debate.


Names of brands really intrigue me. We come across so many brand names on a day-to-day basis, but do we ever wonder what goes behind naming these brands?


After all, names affect the way customers perceive the brand. The names impact the way we think and feel about a particular brand. Name, being the first point of contact, is also one of the critical areas on which the customers form an opinion.


Naming a brand is a big deal. Ask any brand guru and they would vouch for the fact that conceiving names that customers will fall in love with is an ‘incredibly tricky task’. Tackling this challenge is not just difficult but can sometimes get damn frustrating.


With so many factors that come into play – right from trademark issues, to language barriers, spellings, pronunciations, sound amongst others – naming a business is not easy-peasy; although, the name itself may look like a ‘simple’ one.  Take for example Alphabet (of which Google Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary) a simple, straight forward and extremely effective name.  A famous brand guru rightly pointed out, “The name (Alphabet) is an idea, and it’s a set of letters that forms the basis of all communications. The name encourages Wall Street investors to buy this stock as you’re making an ‘alpha-bet’ — one that will outperform others — and lastly, it’s a real dictionary word, which is a rare find these days.”


Since most dictionary words are taken, it’s no wonder that brands form names by merging two words or editing a word to suit their preferences. Tanishq, a jewellery brand from the house of TATA got its name by combining first two letters of word Tata with नष्क (Nishk) meaning necklace or a gold coin in Sanskrit. The famous toy brand Lego also derived its name from Danish words 'Leg Godt', which means to 'play well'.


You will see also a different school of thought that goes behind naming a brand in these days of the internet – ones where they drop the vowel. Flickr, Tumblr and Scribd are some note-worthy examples. And then there are intentionally misspelled words – Google and Reddit.


Blended words too are a norm - Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia), Zillow (zillions + pillow), Hipmunk (hip + chipmunk), Pinterest (pin + interest), Instagram (instant + telegram). And some that sound like noises a baby would make – Etsy, Skype, Zynga.


In the earlier days and a few today many brands have formed names from the names of the founders – Dabur got its names from Founder Dr. S.K. Burman, widely popular as DAktar BURman, Adidas was named after owner Adolf Dassler whose nickname was Adi. Adi Dassler became Adidas. Parle (derived from Vile Parle, Mumbai), Adobe (Derived from Adobe creek in California), Cisco (Derived from San FranCISCO) are some popular brands that have derived their names from places.


Descriptive names and suggestive names are a popular choice as well. While many hit the home run with it, others don’t. Nivea (which derives its name from Latin word niveus, meaning "snow-white") is a beautiful name for a brand, but do you find White Tone Powder or Pretty 24 appealing? I bet not.


There is a lot that goes into a name. Many brands like Xerox, Bisleri, Coke, have even become synonymous to the category. What’s in a name? Logic I say!

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