For many start-up companies, coming up with a unique business name can be challenging. It is easy to just combine your name with what your business is about or what you do like Joe’s Motor Spares.
Company names need to be personal but as part of branding they need to encapsulate everything that a company is about. To get a sense of what inspires companies when they have to choose names, here is a list of some of the most recognizable companies and brands in the world and how each created a cool company name.
The company was established in 1975 and got its name from the joining of two prefixes, Microprocessor and Software. The name has been around for decades and looks like it will stand the test of time.
Everybody knows Facebook. This is the biggest online company on the planet. It introduced the world to social media and continues to generate businesses in other technological spheres. The name came from a college directory.
When Netscape folded, a team came together in 1994 to rebuild. They brainstormed a company name that would crush the industry like Godzilla and hence Mozilla was created.
The name was created when founders realized that their dream of creating a web based encyclopedia would take more time than they had planned, decided to repackage the company that was then known as NuPedia. At that time there was a user editable website known as WikiwikiWeb. Wikipedia was formed on its model of enabling people to contribute content and edit whatever was already there. The Word Wiki is Hawaiian for “fast”.
The name Hulu comes from the Chinese word for Gourd – something that can hold precious things.
The Name Skype is a clever play of words between sky and peer-to-peer. In 2013, it was first called Skype but since that name was already in use the founders changed it to Skype.
In an effort to find a great company name, Twitter started off as Twttr inspired by how Flickr was named. When the founders where creating the names they first came to the name twitch and though it was a good idea to use because it described the way a phone vibrated when a message was coming through but that word did not conjure the right image so the founders changed it to twitter which literally means bursts of short sounds made by birds to communicate, hence the use of the bed in the logo.
When it was first created, yahoo was called “Jerry and David’s guide to the world wide web. The founders Jerry Yang and David Fillio realized how lame that name sounded and how incredibly long it was so they changed. According to the dictionary, Yahoo means rude, noisy but in the case of the search engine, yahoo was an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
The name Sony was taken from a meshing of Latin and English. The founders took the word Sonus which means Sound in Latin and sonny which means a well to do young man. It went by another name in 1946 – Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. the name change came about when the company wanted to take its business to a global audience and thus Sony was born.
The company could have been called Cadabra, as in Abracadabra but the founder Jeff Bezos wanted to give it a company name that would illustrate exactly what his ambitions where and so he chose Amazon, which is also the biggest River.
Nintendo has a literal meaning. It is a Japanese word that means “leave luck to fate”. In the beginning, the company was always going to be about gaming but not the kinds of games that it widely became known for. The initial plan was to introduce a line of cheaper playing cards. This company evolved from the 1933 Yamauchi Nintendo & Co to Nintendo co. in 1963 when it had evolved from creating cards to creating electronic games.
Tom Watson Sr. founded the company after he left his job at National Cash Register. He wanted to create a name that surpassed that of his former employer, so he called his new venture International Business machines.