7 interesting and successful naming stories


Finding the perfect name for your future brand can be a very difficult task. The name represents the first contact between the customers and your product or service and may easily influence an important choice: To buy or not to buy.

In this article you will discover 7 of the most interesting and famous naming stories. And if you need to create a name as great as the following ones, just drop us a line and we will make history together:

             1)    Toblerone

  • Toblerone chocolate bar was created in 1908 by Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann (his cousin). The name was mixed from "Tobler" (the founder's name) and Torrone, the Italian word for honey and almond nougat.
  • It is the last chocolate bar still produced in Switzerland, all other Swiss chocolates are made in other countries.
  • As you may see in the picture, the name hides the name of the city where Toblerone is produced: BERN.
  • The shape of the bars and the logo are inspired by the mountain Matternhorn. Also, in the logo you can discover the shape of a bear species which used to live there.
  • 25% of all their production is sold in duty free shops located in airports. That makes Toblerone the most sold chocolate bar from airports around the world.

We think that Toblerone has created a very interesting naming and graphic identity puzzle that has empowered the brand over the time.

2)      Bluetooth

Bluetooth comes from the Viking king Harald Blatand, whose surname translates to “bluetooth.”

His strange name had an origin in itself. He suffered from a dead tooth that was reported to have turned blue. But that's only the first explanation.

The king was also effective at establishing communications between two parties in a non-violent manner, which made for an excellent role model when developing communication technologies.

So his name and his social qualities were perfect for this innovative product of our times.

As for the logo? It’s constructed of the Viking runes that make up Bluetooth’s name. When combined, they form the highly recognizable B-shape you can find on Bluetooth-enabled devices.

3)      Chanel No 5

When couturier Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel launched her debut perfume No 5, in 1921, it changed the whole world of fragrance. Ninety years later Chanel No 5 is arguably still the world's most iconic perfume.

And still, why No 5?

When Ernest Beaux, Coco Chanel master perfumer, presented her small glass vials containing sample scent compositions numbered 1 to 5 and 20 to 24 for her assessment, she chose the fifth vial.

But this was not all. After that, Chanel told him: ‘I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will bring good luck.’

So this is how the most famous perfume in the world was named. It seems that personal beliefs can create great brands sometimes.

4)      Victoria’s Secret

A Stanford MBA named Roy Raymond wants to buy his wife some lingerie but he’s too embarrassed to shop for it at a department store. He comes up with an idea for a high-end place that doesn’t make you feel like a pervert. He imagined a Victorian boudoir, replete with dark wood, oriental rugs and silk drapery. He chose the name “Victoria” to evoke the property and respectability of the Victorian era. Behind this picture was hidden a secret. Victoria’s Secret.

Roy gets a 40.000$ bank loan, borrows 40.000$ more from his in-laws and opens the first store. Makes 500.000$ in the first year. He starts a catalog, opens three more stores and sells the company to Leslie Wexner and the Limited for 4$ million. Happy ending?
Two years later, Victoria’s Secret net worth is 500$ million. Ray Raymond jumps off the Golden Gate.

Sad story?
But what do you really think? Do you feel that Roy was prepared to raise Victoria’s Secret at this huge value?

5)  Viagra

We all know what Viagra is and what it does. But have we ever wondered where Viagra name came from?

Well, Pfizer, Viagra’s maker, has never told why they have chosen Viagra name for this famous pill. But there are many theories about what Viagra name comes from. The most likely theory is that it was inspired by the Sanskrit word ‘vyaghra’ which means ‘tiger’. It has also been suggested that the word is intended to suggest other ‘v’ words like vigor, virility and vitality. Another theory says that ‘Viagra’ rhymes with Niagara, signifying force and endurance.

Even if there is not an official statement about Viagra name, does this name fits with the pill positioning? Could Viagra have a better name?

As for us, the name is just perfect for what this pill does. Maybe these are not the reasons why Pfizer chose ‘Viagra’, but in my opinion, they’ve managed to talk about masculinity and virility through this one word. And this is what a perfect name should do.

6)      Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is the brand name created by Ralph Lauren. Sounds pretty simple and logic. The brand has the creator's name.

What if...his last name wasn't actually Lauren? 
Ralph Lauren's actual name was Lifshitz. And from the first day of his life, he had a problem with this "inheritance". 
He changed his last name when he was 16 years old because he was bullied for having the word "shit" in his name. Inspired decision, of course.

How would have sound now Ralph Lifshitz instead of Ralph Lauren?

7)      Zara

One of the most affordable fashion brands it’s Zara. The name sounds great. It’s easy to pronounce in any language and many people say it’s one of the best names from this domain. 
What if you knew that at the beginning wasn’t Zara? The first given name was Zorba…

Amancio Ortega, the founder of Inditex Group, originally names his company after the movie “Zorba the Greek”. He was really fascinated by the main character from the movie and he was pretty sure about his decision. But it wasn’t meant to be…
The first store, opened in La Coruna in 1975, happened to be two blocks away from a bar called also Zorba. 
Ortega had already made the mold for the letters of his sign when the bar owner told him that it was too confusing for them to have the same name. And he asked Ortega to change his brand name. 
In the end, Amancio Ortega ended up rearranging the leters to make the closest word he could come up with. The result? Zara of course.

If you would have to choose now which name do you like more, what would you say? Zorba or Zara?

Do you have in mind a naming project? Read more about our naming process and write us about your plans. Let’s write the next famous naming story about your future brand! 

You can follow us on Linkedin and Instagram to see the most recent updates from our work and our wonderful business trips! 

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Marcela and Andra                                      Marcela and Andra

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