The Incredible Stories Behind the Names of 6 Famous Brands
Have you ever stopped to think about how your favorite brand created it’s now infamous name? Did the founders choose to name the biz after themselves, like Glen Bell did with his chain Taco Bell, or was the name simply selected at random?
We’ve done some digging and in doing so, discovered the pretty incredible stories behind the brand names we all know and love.
BIC Corporation – At first glance we thought: okay, another company who simply took the easy road and named their product after themselves. Bic could be a nice last name. However the naming of BIC Corporation has a bit more humor behind it. Co-founder Marcel Bich decided to drop the H in his surname to avoid a potentially, ahem, unfortunate English mispronunciation.
Google – Do you remember living in a time before spell check existed? Neither do we. But if you can believe it, a simple spelling mistake actually led to the name of the world’s most popular search engine.
In a brainstorming session between co-founder Larry Page and then graduate student Sean Anderson, the name ‘Googolplex’ was suggested to reflect the search engine’s ability to index an immense amount of data. At Page’s request to shorten the name to ‘Googol,’ Anderson ran a search to confirm the availability of the name, but searched for the word ‘Google,’ instead. Page liked the name (and the incorrect spelling!) so they registered the domain Google.com.
Looks like being runner up in the spelling bee really does pay off!
Yahoo! – Yahoo is sort of like the step-brother everyone ignores in comparison to its more popular and better looking brother, Google, but there’s no doubt that Yahoo’s name (and their famous Yahoo yodel) is hard to forget.
Creators Jerry Yang and David Filo found their inspiration for this popular search engine from creatures called ‘Yahoos’ out of Jonathan Swift’s, “Gulliver’s Travels.” A Yahoo is defined as rude, unsophisticated and uncouth which Yang and Filo felt accurately described themselves. The name Yahoo had already been trademarked, so an exclamation point had to be added in order to establish their brand.
Well, Yahoo is definitely catchier than their original idea: David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web. Imagine typing that into your web browser everyday!
Starbucks – Long before #ItsJustACup was trending, a writer, a history teacher and an English teacher walked into a coffee shop. What sounds like the beginning of a joke you’d hear from your dad is actually the story behind the Starbucks coffeehouse chain.
The three founders believed that words beginning with the letters “st” were most powerful and on their quest to find a name, stumbled upon a mining town named Starbo in the Cascade Mountain Range. To writer and founder Gordon Bowker, the name instantly reminded him of Starbuck, a character from the classic novel Moby Dick. While a tribute to Moby Dick and the association with the romance of the high seas is the most widely believed story behind the name Starbucks, it was really just an added bonus for literary lovers.
Apple – Imagine going through your day-to-day without your iPhone, iPod or whatever other iNvention you can’t live without. It’s hard to picture it, we know.
Before creating the powerhouse consumer electronics company, co-founder Steve Jobs spent time working at an apple orchard in Oregon. At the time he was on one of his fruitarian diets and felt that the name was approachable and fun. At a time when other computer companies had complex names and logos, Jobs wanted to distance himself with a more spirited and less intimidating feel than that of his competitors.
Today, Apple is still the picture of simplicity and approachability. Jobs’ time working in the fields certainly was worth it.
Wix – Okay, so maybe we’re a little bit biased, but this list wouldn’t be complete without the story behind Wix!
We’re all about changing the way people create their web presence which is exactly how the name Wix was born. During our founders’ beachside brainstorming session, they decided on two requirements: start with a W after our dear friend, the World Wide Web and to be super easy, reflecting one of our core values.
Only after we went global did we consider that Wix may in fact be a real word in other languages. Not to worry our German friends – we can take a joke.
By The Wix Team