There are many factors to consider when choosing a business name.
You have to take into account things like what type of product you’re selling, what kind of clientele you’re targeting, and even if it’s a personal project or not.
Brand power plays a significant role in determining your trademark’s perceived value and how much customers are willing to spend on your products.
All aspects of a company’s performance are heavily influenced by its brand power, especially its ability to differentiate itself from competitors and be perceived as having higher quality than them.
Here are some famous company names and how they originated…
~ APPLE ~
Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson states the name Apple was chosen simply due to Jobs’ love of apples; according to Isaacson, Jobs chose the name for its fun, spirited sound and ease of use…plus, “it would put us ahead of Atari in the phone book.”
Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, recalls that Jobs had just returned from an orchard in Oregon when he made the suggestion.
As Wozniak elaborated in his autobiography, iWoz, they both tried to come up with more technical names, but failed, so they settled on Apple.
Apple topped the Forbes list of the world’s most valuable brands in 2020, valued at $241.2 billion with $260.2 billion in brand revenue.
~ MICROSOFT ~
Like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, this brand name is so familiar that you probably don’t even think about what it means or where it came from.
Outcorporated Inc. and Unlimited Ltd. were two of the ideas Bill Gates and Paul Allen had when they first started out.
“Back in Boston, we discussed a lot of names, and at one point I said, ‘Well, Microsoft would be the obvious choice.'” stated Allen.
We debated the name Allen & Gates, but decided it wasn’t a good idea.” Gates said. “It seemed like a law firm or a consulting company to call it Allen & Gates. So we picked Microsoft even before we had a company to name.”
Microsoft was one of the most powerful and profitable companies in American history by the mid-1990s, earning 25 cents on every dollar of sales.
With a value of $162.9 billion and a brand revenue of $125.8 billion, they are ranked #3 on the 2020 Forbes list of Worlds Most Valuable Brands.
~ GOOGLE ~
One of the biggest tech companies in history, Google was founded by computer scientists Larry Page and Sergey Brin. As a result of its influence on our daily lives, the verb “to google something” has even entered our language.
“BackRub” was the name Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave their first search engine in 1996 named for its analysis of the web’s “back links.”
There was a discussion in 1997 about possible new names for the rapidly improving search technology – something relating to indexing huge amounts of data. A word Sean suggested was “googolplex,” and Larry replied that “googol” would be a better short form.
The term “googolplex” was first proposed by Milton Sirotta, the same person who invented the word “googol.”. Milton was the nine-year-old nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner.
As Kasner asked Milton for a name for the number, Milton suggested something silly, like “googol,” which was soon followed by “googolplex”. Milton’s definition was “one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired.”
As an alternative, Kasner suggested that googolplex could be “ten raised to the power of a googol”, which is an insanely large number!
If you printed a googolplex out on paper, the paper itself would weigh more than all the mass in the Milky Way combined. Obviously, this is a great name for a tech company because it’s a huge, slightly absurd scientific concept.
The idea appealed to Page, so he asked his friend, Sean Anderson, if the domain name was available. As Anderson typed the word to register the domain, it was misspelled as “Google.” Page quickly decided he preferred this spelling, and Google Inc. was born.
Google might sound silly, but it’s better than the name Page and Brin almost chose. The fact that you can “Google” something instead of “BackRubbing” it is thanks to a typo, an incredibly large number, and a nine-year-old boy.
Google ranked #2 on Forbes’ 2020 list of World’s Most Valuable Brands, with a brand value of $207.5 billion and a brand revenue of $145.6 billion.
A 2022 BusinessLive article reported an increase of 23% in the value of the top 100 most valuable brands over the past year, highlighting how crucial brand strength is to navigating an uncertain global economy.
The process of selecting a business name can be long and arduous, but, as we have seen, the results can be well worth it!
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Vusi Thembekwayo is a Global Speaker, Author and Investor in the Future. Subscribe to Vusi Thembekwayo’s regular LinkedIn newsletter, “The Future of Everything”, by clicking here.