How the world's most valuable brands got their names

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Origins Of The World's Most Valuable Brand Names
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How the world's most valuable brands got their names
Though there is some debate, in his 2006 book 'iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon,' Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak explains: "It was a couple of weeks later when we came up with a name for the partnership. I remember I was driving Steve Jobs back from the airport along Highway 85. Steve was coming back from a visit to Oregon to a place he called an “apple orchard.” It was actually some kind of commune. Steve suggested a name – Apple Computer. The first comment out of my mouth was, “What about Apple Records?” This was (and still is) the Beatles-owned record label. We both tried to come up with technical-sounding names that were better, but we couldn’t think of any good ones. Apple was so much better, better than any other name we could think of."
A combination of the words microcomputer and software (with the other options being the comical "Outcorporated Inc." and "Unlimited Ltd.") according to Bill Gates.
The two main ingredients: Coca Leaves and Cola Berries
"The name International Business Machines was proven successful as a moniker in Canada for seven years prior to becoming the official name of the entire fast-growing international company. When Thomas Watson Sr. changed the name, he oversaw the creation of IBM’s first corporate logo. Thus began the evolution of IBM’s brand identity that culminated in Paul Rand’s iconic “8-bar logo,” which remains to this day one of the world’s most recognized corporate marks." (Source: IBM)
"The name -- a play on the word "googol," a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros—reflects Larry and Sergey's mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web." (Source: Google)
Ray Kroc bought the rights to the name and the service from the McDonald brothers. (Source: The Guardian)
"In 1889, Drexel, Morgan financed Thomas Edison’s research and helped his company incorporate. In 1892, the firm helped create General Electric through the consolidation of the Edison General Electric Company and Thomson-Houston Electric." (Source: JP Morgan)
"Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce left Fairchild Semiconductor, since Fairchild didn't believe in the future of integrated circuits as much as Noyce or Moore. So, when they started this new company, they named it Moore & Noyce. They did the paper work with this name for the first 8 weeks, but didn't think this name was catchy or it gave an idea about the company. Then, a while later Noyce's daughter, Penny Noyce suggest the name Intel (INtegrated ELectronics). This name was liked by both Noyce and Moore and they changed the name to Intel." (Source: Sunny Talks Tech)
In Korean, the word Samsung represents "three stars." In this case the "three" represents something big, powerful and numerous. (Source: Korea Daily)
Louis Vuitton was the French businessman who started the company. (Source: Louis Vuitton)
Bayerische Motoren Werke or in English -- Bavarian Motor Works (Source: BMW)
"Actually not an acronym, as often assumed. It's just San Francisco without the San Fran, which is why the "c" was not capitalized originally." (Source: Newser)
Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a project for the CIA codenamed "Oracle." Afterwards, they took the name for their company. (Source: Hong Kiat)
"Toyota was started in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder's son, Kiichiro Toyoda." The name was changed from "Toyoda" to "Toyota" in 1936 when the company held a competition for a new name. The change was due to the number of strokes it took to write "Toyota" in Japanese (eight), which was supposedly lucky. (Source: BBC News)
 American Telephone and Telegraph Company (subsidiary of the Bell Telephone Company)
Named for Karl Benz and "Mercédès" – a Spanish girl’s name meaning ‘grace.’ (Source: Daimler)
Named for the founder -- Walt Disney
Named for the founder -- Sam Walton
"Adolphus [Busch] coined the label 'Budweiser,' a name that would appeal to German immigrants like himself, yet could be easily pronounced by Americans." (Source: Budweiser)
Named for the founder -- Soichiro Honda
Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing (SAP) formed by four ex-IBM employees who "used to work in the ‘Systems/Applications/Projects’ group of IBM." (Source: Hong Kiat)

"The symbol was selected because it uses the two letters of the Verizon logo that graphically portray speed, while also echoing the genesis of the company name: veritas, the Latin word connoting certainty and reliability, and horizon, signifying forward-looking and visionary." (Source: Verizon)

Named for the founder -- King C. Gillette
Named for the Greek goddess of victory
"Invented around the same time as its chief competitor, Pepsi again contained kola nuts along with pepsin, a digestive aid. Like coca leaves in 'Coke,' there is no longer any pepsin in Pepsi." (Source:

By Eric Sandler

Nike, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Louis Vuitton -- everyone from a child to the elderly can rattle the names off like a second language. Yet, do you actually know where your favorite brand names originated from?

Some follow in the names of their storied founders, while others feature clever anagrams, hidden meanings, and much more. Scroll through the gallery above to find out where the world's 25 most valuable brands got their names -- you may never read the words the same way again.

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