How can you avoid these big naming mistakes?


When you had to choose a name for your company, product or service have you ever thought that you can make huge naming mistakes without even realizing it?

Let’s say you are going to launch a new product which will be traded on multiple markets. You already know your target, your price strategy is all set and you need to find the perfect name for it. If you are making a professional naming strategy, you probably have established the main criteria for the new brand name. Even so, you might have missed a very important step: Linguistic screening.


Why is linguistic screening so important for naming process?


When you are selling your products on international markets, it is crucial that naming process include the linguistic screening step. If you are skipping it, you are risking to have a failed launch on one of those markets. Your mother tongue is not the only language on earth, so even if a name sounds good to you, in other language it can have a very negative connotation and be a disaster for your business in that country.

Other big companies have already done these mistakes.

Let’s see examples of big bad brand names:

  1. Chevrolet Nova

In Spanish, ‘no va’ means ‘doesn’t go’. Why would a cars manufacturer want his product to be associated with ‘doesn’t go’?

  1. Nokia Lumia

It seems that Spanish language has to be the most screened. ‘Lumia’ means ‘prostitute’ in Spanish.

  1. Coca-Cola Fresca

You’ve never thought that even the giant marketing and branding leader Coca-Cola would do a naming mistake. In Spanish, the official translation of ‘Fresca’ is ‘fresh’, which is good, but in Mexico, it is also slang for ‘lesbian’.

  1.  Ford Pinto

Auto industry fails again. In Brazilian Portuguese, ‘Pinto’ means ‘tiny male genitals’.


  1. Mitsubishi Pajero

It seems that auto industry has the most naming mistakes and the Spanish should be the most screened language, after all. In Spanish, ‘Pajero’ is a slang for ‘masturbator’, ‘wanker’.

As you may notice, even big companies have made mistakes. But it doesn’t mean you should do it as well. Include your linguistic screening step in your naming process. You can do the screening by yourself or you can work with specialists.


Usually, a naming agency has a very well-established naming process which includes also the linguistic screening. In addition, a professional naming agency works only with native speaker linguists all around the world, so the report for the proposed brand names to be as accurate as possible.


Are you looking for a new name for your business? Make sure you search for it in a professional manner. If you need our help, write us.


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