How the popular brands got their names

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Every year, the global market is flooded with new brands and already existing ones that have made name. With lots of brands around us today one may need to ask where the ideas of these brands actually came from.

It may surprise you to know that these brands we have become so familiar with have hidden meaning behind their name.

Let’s look at those most common brand names;

Coca cola

This popular brand actually got the name from the two main ingredients; cocoa leaves and Cola nut. Surprised? Yes, before now, this ‘miracle concoction’ was sold as a tonic for headaches and fatigue in pharmacies. Today, you can get one from virtually any supermarket where they are stored in the fridge.

eBay

The eBay, as it’s called today, was first named ‘Auction Web’ by the founder, Pierre Morad Omidyar in his attempt to create a website that replicated an online marketplace. Omidyar first arrived at ‘eBay AuctionWeb’ which was literally a combination of his company name, ‘Echo Bay’ and the site, Auction Web. In 1997, he decided to change the company’s name to what it is called today, ‘eBay’.

Google

Google has become everyone’s search engine, but have you wondered where the name came from? Well, the name was derived from ‘goggol’ – a mathematical term used to describe the ‘1’ with 100 zeros.

IKEA

This is the world’s largest furniture retailer founded by Ingvar Kamprad when he was just 17. The brand is a combination of his name initials, IK, and the first letters of the farm and village where he was raised, Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, EA – hence IKEA.

Virgin

Virgin is a world brand known for owning one of the biggest media telecoms companies, airlines and gym chains. According to Sir Richard Branson, in his autobiography, the company’s name picked from a statement made by one of the colleagues during a brainstorming session. The colleague said that they were all virgins in the business – and so the name!

Skype

This was first referred to as ‘sky-peer-to-peer’ which was later changed to ‘Skyper’. Subsequently the ‘r’ was removed to give the name ‘skype’ which it is called today.

Blackberry

Yes, the Blackberrys came onboard before the recent iPhones. There’s this unique feature about this phone – the small sized keypad. Definitely it was made to portray the drupelets on the berry fruit hence the name – Blackberry.

Amazon

The name was derived from the world’s largest river. This is possibly a good name for a business intended to become the world’s biggest company. Again, the letter ‘A’ is a good way to start if you want to appear at the top of a search.

Apple

Steve Jobs, in his story of how the renowned brand name came to be explained how he thought the name, Apple, to sound spirited, fun and not intimidating when he had come back from an apple farm. Today, everyone is grateful for the iPhones, iPads, Macs.

Vodafone

The name Vodafone, was derived from 3 words – Voice – DAta – FONE i.e Data and Voice Telephone to become your mobile network provider.

There’s continuous innovation as these brands keep pace with technology and remain at the top of their industry’s game. Their beautiful and compelling content inspires us to create and grow meaningful brand identities.


If you are thinking the time has come for a re-brand or relaunch of your business. We would be more than happy to discuss with you how we can meet your needs to support your business growth and stability. Click here to contact Handle Branding for further information.