From Google to H&M: Popular Brands That Originally Had Different Names

Popular Brands That Originally Had Different Names

In the business world, brand identity plays a crucial role. The consumer should be able to easily distinguish your brand` from the competition. To leverage this, brand names have to have a hook, be identifiable with the brand and reinforce it, among other requirements.

Surely, all readers of this article know how to distinguish between a ‘Coca-Cola’ and ‘Pepsi’, or ‘Apple’ and ‘Samsung’ or a ‘Nike’ and ‘Adidas’. It is clear that the name and logo may or may not cause a brand to succeed among its potential consumers, but before you get to know the definitive name, you have to go a long way.

Did you know that many companies of easily recognizable brands internationally started their journeys with completely different names? Here’s a list of some important brands you may not know otherwise.

1. Google was Backrub

In 1996, the world’s number one search engine was created under the name “BackRub”. Creators Larry Page and Serge Brin changed their name to their Google business and technology in 1998.

Googol represents the 10 raised to 100 (written in its entirety it would be one followed by 100 zeros). This term was coined in 1938 by the American mathematician Edward Kasner, who asked his nine-year-old nephew to come up with a name for a huge number, and the little boy answered “Gogol.”

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google, they used this term to create a nod to the vast amount of information that can be found on the Internet. They also say that the reason for switching from Googol to Google was a simple transcription error that they finally decided to use.

2. Pepsi was Brad’s Drink

In 1893, a North Carolina pharmacist named Caleb Bradham began experimenting with some refreshment recipes. One of them bore his name: “Brad’s Drink.” In 1898, Brad’s Drink was renamed Pepsi-Cola, which eventually became one of the most recognized brands in the world.

Originally, Pepsi was created in 1893 as medicine for dyspepsia, a digestive disorder quite common. The drink included pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins in the stomach.

3. Snapchat was Pictaboo

The original Snapchat name was Pictaboo until the creators received a letter from a photo book company with the same name. Pictaboo was changed to Snapchat.

4. Starbucks was Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice, II Giornale Coffee Company

With a moby Dick-inspired name, “Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice” was established in 1971. In 1983, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, left the company for a short period to start his Italian-style coffee shops under the name Il Giornale. Four years later, he bought the original company and chose to retrieve Starbucks’ name.

The name Starbucks was given in honour of a character from the famous novel “Moby Dick.” The three founders of this chain were an English teacher, a history teacher and a writer, and their fondness for this classic of literature led them to want to use a reference from the novel. The founders had planned to use the name of the ship: “Pequod”, but finally, they decided to use the name of one of the characters: Frank Starbuck, the first officer on board. The influence of the sea, both in verbal and graphic identity (a mermaid), is also related to the port city where Starbucks was born: Seattle. 

5. Mickey Mouse was Mortimer

The Disney company’s flagship was called Mortimer. Walt Disney’s wife, who hated that name deeply, was the one who changed it to the one we all know.

6. Nike was Blue Ribbon Sports

Nike was formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports and originally operated as a distributor for Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger. Initially, it was started with only $1,200 in the bank. The company later opted for the name Nike in honour of the Greek goddess of victory.

7. Amazon was Cadabra

When Jeff Bezos created Amazon, he called it Cadabra.com, established it in his home garage. But he knew he needed an impactful name. He mentioned, “I wanted a name that was powerful but at the same time exotic and mysterious, and that could also be common and familiar to people. I also wanted a name that starts with A, due to web searches for alphabetized lists.”

Jeff Bezos analyzed all the words that began with A in the dictionary until he found the word Amazon, which fell in love with him for fulfilling all these promises. Cadabra.com and settled in his home garage.

8. Apple, Inc. was Apple Computers

Established in 1976, the tech goliath we know today as Apple was initially named Apple Computers by organizers Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne and Steve Wozniak. In 2007, Jobs reported that the organization was dropping “PC” from its name to all the more likely mirror their move into a more extensive field of purchaser gadgets. “The Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Just one of those is a PC. So, we’re changing the name,” he said,

There have always been theories, the name Apple comes from Newton’s apple or the poisoned apple for which the mathematician Alan Turing, father of computing, died; however, according to Steve Jobs in his biography, “I was following one of my fruit diets and had just returned from an apple orchard. I came up with using that name, and it sounded fun, energetic and not at all intimidating. It also smoothed over the rough edges. of the word “Computer.” Also, with that name, we would overtake Atari in the phone book. “

9. eBay was Auction Web

In 1995, eBay was initially named AuctionWeb – one of four locales housed under originator Pierre Omidyar’s umbrella organization called eBay Internet. The other three locales incorporated a movement site, an individual transporter site and a site about the Ebola infection. Prodded by the media alluding to AuctionWeb as eBay, the organization made the name change official in 1997.

10. H&M was Hennes

Although it may seem that somehow H&M refers to women and men, this is not entirely true. H&M stands for Hennes and Mauritz. At first, she was just called Hennes, which is Swedish for “for her.” But a few years later, the company acquired the Mauritz Widforss company, a men’s clothing brand, and from then on, the company name became Hennes & Mauritz, H&M.