Major Brands That Became Very Successful despite changing their initial brand names

Global Brands That Became More Successful By Changing Their Brand Names

Global brands that became more successful after changing their brand names.

I have said it before that it is very important to get the brand name right at the first attempt. However, that is not to say that you must stick with a particular name if and when you discover that it is impacting your brand negatively. No brand name is cast on iron to the point that it cannot be changed. As a matter of fact, we have some global brands that went ahead to become more successful after changing their brand names. In fact, I can almost say with every degree of certainty that you are not even aware that the name some of them bear is not the name they started with.

So today we look at some popular brands that went ahead to become more successful after changing their brand names.

1. Google – Formerly BackRub

Google went ahead to become very successful after changing its brand name from BackRub
Google went ahead to become very successful after changing its brand name from BackRub

The first in the list of successful companies after changing their brand names is Google. But how many of us know that Google is not the original name?

Founded

1996

Former Name

BackRub

They called it this because the program analyzed the web’s “back links” to understand how important a website was, and what other sites it related to. BackRub operated on Stanford’s servers until it eventually took up too much bandwidth.

Year Name Changed

1998

Story behind the change of Name

The name “Google” actually came from a misspelling of ‘Googol’. This was after Larry Page decided that BackRub was not just good enough. A fellow graduate student at Stanford University by name Sean Anderson had suggested the word “googolplex” during a brainstorming session. Page countered with the shorter version “googol.”

Anderson checked to see if that domain name was taken, but accidentally searched for “google.com” instead of “googol.com.”

And guess what?

Page liked that name even better, and immediately registered it.

2. Amazon – Formerly Cadabra

Amazon despite changing its original name Cadabra went ahead to become very successful
Amazon despite changing its original name Cadabra went ahead to become very successful

The second on our list of successful companies after changing their brand names is Amazon.

The name Amazon has become as familiar to Brits as PG Tips, so it’s hard to imagine using another term in its place.

Founded

1994

Former Name

Cadabra

Name Changed

Few months later

Story behind name change

When Jeff Bezos came up with the idea of an online store he called it Cadabra, a shortened version of the magician’s favourite ‘abracadabra’ as in everything store. The name however lost its attraction to Jeff, when a lawyer mistook it for ‘cadaver’, another word for corpse. Bezos feel that misunderstanding carties a negative Connotation. Bezos also briefly toyed with the name Relentless, but was told it had a sinister ring to it. Eventually, he turned to a dictionary for help, settling on Amazon because it was a place that was ‘exotic and different’, and gave the desired sense of scale. That and the fact it started with an ‘A’, so it would come top of an alphabetised list.

3. Pepsi-Cola – Formerly Brad’s Drink

Pepsi is one of those that changed their brand names and still became very successful
Pepsi is one of those that changed their brand names and still became very successful

Founded

1893

Former Name

Brad’s Drink

Name Changed

1898

Story behind the name change 

Caleb Bradham started experimenting with a few soft drink recipes back on 1893. He created a mix of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives that became hugely popular. At first he called it Brad’s Drink a direct reference to his name.

But it was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898. The word “Pepsi” because it was advertised to relieve dyspepsia (indigestion) and “Cola” referring to the cola flavor. Some have also suggested that “Pepsi” may have been a reference to the drink aiding digestion like the digestive enzyme pepsin.

Today, Pepsi-Cola has gone ahead to become very successful and one of the world’s most recognized brands.

4. Instagram – Formerly Burbn

Instagram- Formerly Burbn
Instagram- Formerly Burbn

Founded

2009

Former Name

Burbn

Name Changed

2010

Story behind the change of name 

The app created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger started out in 2009 as a location-based iPhone app. And as at then it went by the name of Burbn. But when they realised that the most popular part of the app was the photo sharing feature they developed a new look for the app. Of course, the new look was going to go with a more suiting name. And what did they come up with – Instagram. For them, Instagram, was a combination of the words ‘instant’ and ‘telegram’.

5. Tinder – Formerly Matchbox

Tinder the world most popular dating app was formerly Match Box
Tinder the world most popular dating app was formerly Match Box

Founded

February, 2012

Former Name

Match Box

Name Changed

Few months after

Story behind name change 

Tinder has been described as the app that’s changed the dating world. It has an estimate of 75 million people swiping left or right in a bid to find a date. But Tinder was originally called Matchbox, a nod to the many literary link-ups between love and fire. There was just one problem with the name, though – it was a tad similar to Match.com. The founders had a rethink and, staying true to their theme of sparks flying and fanning the flames of romance, they came up with Tinder.

6. Nike – Formerly Blue Ribbon Sports

Nike
Nike is one of the companies known for changing their first brand names

Founded 

1964

Former Name

Blue Ribbon Sports

Name Changed 

1971

Story behind name change

Today it’s one of the most iconic brands on the planet,  with its famous tick, an emblem of strength, speed and victory. But we can’t help but wonder if it’d have had quite the same kudos and success ut has had if it had been called Blue Ribbon Sports. That was the name track athlete, Phil Knight, and his coach, Bill Bowerman, started with back in the Sixties when they operated as a distributor for the Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger.

The change however, came a few years later, in 1971, when they were right on the brink of renaming it Dimension Six. But an employee suggested last-minute that they go for Nike instead,. Nike, was in reference to the Greek goddess of victory. The idea, he said, came to him in a dream. Blue Ribbon Sports and Dimension Six were swiftly consigned to the history books, and Nike quite literally turned out to be the stuff of dreams.

7. Apple, Inc – Formerly Apple Computers 

Apple logo
Apple logo

Founded

1976

Former Name

Apple Computers

Name Changed

2007

Story behind name change 

This might not strike that much because by and large it is just the name ‘Apple’ that most of us know. The company was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak. And at that time they called the name Apple Computers as they was their primary product. But once they started manufacturing a range of products, it became clear they needed an update. In 2007, Jobs announced that the company was dropping the word ‘computer’ and said, “The Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Only one of those is a computer. So we’re changing the name.”

I have included this to buttress my point about been futuristic in creating a brand name knowing that there might be need to expand with time.

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