A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but the thing still needs a name. And the same thing goes for all the brands we use on a daily basis. The discounts at Walmart would probably be just as satisfying if they had stuck to their original name, but it’s doubtful they would have become the mega-chain they are now without a little help from an updated moniker. Take a look at the transformation they and other large companies went through before becoming the household staples we know today.
1. They started out as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, supplying corundum to manufacturers of grinding wheels.
2. Previously called U-Tote ‘Em, they changed the name to reflect the hours they were open: 7:00am to 11:00pm.
3. Based on the nickname of founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler.
4. Founder John Warnock named the company after Adobe Creek, which ran behind his house.
5. Changed from Cadabra.com, the company wanted the new name to symbolize the higher volume of sales they could achieve online rather than in a physical bookstore.
6. Their full name, American Multi-Cinema, references the company’s pioneering of multi-screen cinemas,
7. Contrary to popular belief, the “RB” sound in this name doesn’t correspond to their famous roast beef but to the Raffel Brothers, who founded the company.
8. The name is taken from their logo which depicts Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalworking.
9. That extra ‘T’ dates back to when telegraphs were still a thing, the name standing for American Telephone & Telegraph Company.
10. Similar to saying “check” in a game of chess, the word “atari” is used in the Japanese game “go” when your opponents pieces are probably about to be captured.
11. This is the Latin translation of founder August Horch’s last name as he already had another company with the original name.
12. Founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s name translates in English as “bridge of stone.”
13. Named for the first camera used by Precision Optical Instrument Laboratory, the “Kwanon.”
14. The original flavor included ingredients of coca leaves and kola nuts.
15. This is a portmanteau of “communication” and “broadcast.”
16. Conoco comes from shortening the original name, Continental Oil Company, which then merged with Phillips Petroleum Company.
17. The company shortened the name Consumer Value Services in 1996, but current CEO Tom Ryan now claims the letters stand for “customer, value and service.”
18. The first warehouse for this drugstore was located between Duane St. and Reade St. in Manhattan.
19. From the Echo Bay Technology Group, shortened when the domain “echobay.com” was unavailable.
20. A combination of founders Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao’s names.
21. Originally called Government Employees Insurance Company, they shortened it to the amphibian-sounding name.
22. Named for sibling co-founders Henry and Helal Hassenfeld.
23. Founded by Henry W. and Richard Bloch, the spelling was changed to avoid mispronunciation.
24. Tom Watson Sr. named the company International Business Machines as a way to one-up his former employer, National Cash Register.
25. A combination of the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad with the initials of his childhood village, Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.
26. This name comes from the first syllables of “Integrated Electronics” since the name was already being used by a different company.
27. Translated from Hanja, the Korean company’s name means “rising from Asia.”
28. Taken from the founders, Harold “Matt’ Matson and Elliot Handler.
29. This is a shortened version of the original name, National Biscuit Company.
30. The shoe company took their name from the Greek goddess of victory with the iconic “swoosh” representing her flight.
31. This is just a slightly different version of the Japanese name, Nintendou, which translates roughly to “entrusted heaven.”
32. This is a shortened version of the original Japanese name, Nippan Sangyo, which means “Japan Industries.”
33. Named for the town in Finland where it originally functioned as a wood-pulp mill.
34. Taken from the digestive enzyme, pepsin.
35. The shopping channel’s logo stands for “quality, value and convenience.”
36. Transliterated version of the word “rhebok,” which is a type of African antelope.
37. Originally called Service Games of Japan, the company got its start by importing pin-ball machines to American military bases in Japan.
38. Taken from the company’s first ever product: the ever-sharp pencil.
39. The original idea came from “sky-peer-to-peer,” which was changed to “skyper” and eventually simply Skype.
40. Taken form the Latin word “sonus,” which means “sound,” and chosen for being easy to say in a lot of languages.
41. Southern Pacific Railroad International Communications was a bit of a mouthful, so they shortened it to this.
42. This is an homage to a character from Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick.’
43. Named for founder Glen Bell and, of course, their delicious product.
44. The phone company combines “veritas,” which is Latin for “truth,” and “horizon.”
45. Founder Richard Branson named his company this at the suggestion of a friend who claimed they were “complete virgins at this.”
46. Translated from German, the title simply means “the peoples car.”
47. Founder Sam Walton already owned Walton’s Five and Dime and wanted a new name for the retail chain he was opening nationwide.
48. Founder Dave Thomas named the restaurant after his daughter, whose name was actually Melinda but went by Wendy.
Business lesson of the day: when in doubt, just squish a few words together!
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