How 10 Brands Came About

I’m currently doing some thinking on “brand storytelling” (more on that as it comes), and thought this was an interesting article via Graphic Design Blog on how 10 brands originated. It got me thinking about the evolution of a brand – from what it originally was to where it is today. If anything, it also makes for great introduction fodder during presentations!

Cool facts about how brands came about:

  1. Apple was named after Steve Jobs worked in a community type farm in Oregon in 1976. Co-founder Wozniak believes Steve might have got this name idea either from the farm or because of his music tastes in Apple Records which was quiet popular with Beatles.
  2. Adobe Systems was incorporated in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. The name evolved from Adobe Creek in Los Altos, California, a river that ran behind the house of one of the company’s founders.
  3. CISCO is popularly confused as the acronym for ‘Computer Information System Company’. The name “Cisco” was actually derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in the early days.
  4. Google was once named ‘backrub’. Google was created in 1996 under the name “BackRub”. Moreover, the Google name change in 1998 came as a spelling mistake of the word “googol”.
  5. Hewlett Packard was decided on as a result of a coin toss. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. (Really makes you wonder about all those namestorming-type activities branding agencies put you through, eh?)
  6. Mercedes was originally named after Emil Jellineks’ daughter, Mercédès Jellinek. Emil Jellineks was the man who specified an engine designed by Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler that formally bore his daughter’s name.
  7. Pepsi originated in 1893 under the name of “Brad’s Drink”. It was named after the pharmacist Celeb Bradham. In 1898, Brad’s Drink was renamed “Pepsi-Cola”. The name change was apparently due to digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the formula.
  8. Intel could have been ‘Moore Noyce’! Founders Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore sought this name for their new company but circumstantially that name was already trademarked by a hotel chain. Hence the acronym of INTegrated ELectronics was adopted.
  9. Sony was established under the name of Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in 1946. But the firm changed its name to “Sony” in 1958, an amalgamation of two words “sonus” and “sonny”. The English slang word “sonny” means smart, young and presentable.
  10. Yahoo! was initially named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. This was named after the founders Jerry Yang and David Filo. The term Yahoo! is an abbreviation for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
  11. Bonus: Coca Cola, the world’s most consumed beverage, was once called “coca wine” and sold as a medicine.

Check out the original article here.

For example, how would you feel knowing that Coca Cola, the beverage you consume the most, was once called “coca wine”, sold as a medicine?

Following are 10 fascinating brand stories that are attached to famous brands.

1. Apple – The inspiration:

In 1976 Steve Jobs was working in a community type farm in Oregon which inspired him to name the company Apple Computers. Co-founder Wozniak believes Steve might have got this name idea either from the farm or because of his music tastes in Apple Records which was quiet popular with Beatles. Apple Logo

2. Adobe – The River:

Adobe Systems was incorporated in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. The name evolved from Adobe Creek in Los Altos, California, a river that ran behind the house of one of the company’s founders. Adobe Logo

3. CISCO – The confused acronym:

CISCO is popularly confused as the acronym for ‘Computer Information System Company’. The name “Cisco” was actually derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in the early days. CISCO Logo

4. Google – The Back Rub:

Did you know that the search engine you use frequently was once named ‘backrub’? Google was created in 1996 under the name “BackRub“. Moreover, the Google name change in 1998 came as a spelling mistake of the word “googol”. Google Logo

5. Hewlett Packard – The coin toss:

We’ve seen coin toss at the start of sports games. But deciding the name of a company through a coin flip? That is how HP got its name. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. Hewlett Packard Logo

6. Mercedes – The fair lady:

The famous car brand Mercedes was originally named after Emil Jellineks’ daughter, Mercédès Jellinek. Emil Jellineks was the man who specified an engine designed by Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler that formally bore his daughter’s name. Mercedes Logo

7. Pepsi Cola – The wine

Pepsi originated in 1893 under the name of “Brad’s Drink”. It was named after the pharmacist Celeb Bradham. In 1898, Brad’s Drink was renamed “Pepsi-Cola”. The name change was apparently due to digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the formula. Pepsi Logo

8. Intel – The hard to get trademark:

Did you know that the company we know as Intel, could have been ‘Moore Noyce’? Founders Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore sought this name for their new company but circumstantially that name was already trademarked by a hotel chain. Hence the acronym of INTegrated Electronics was adopted. Intel Logo

9. Sony – The slang terminology:

This giant brand was established under the name of Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in 1946. But the firm changed its name to “Sony” in 1958, an amalgamation of two words “sonus” and “sonny”. The English slang word “sonny” means smart, young and presentable. Sony Logo

10. Yahoo!

One of the most prominent search engines we know as Yahoo! was initially named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. This was named after the founders Jerry Yang and David Filo. The term Yahoo! is an abbreviation for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.
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