Brand Naming in China

At the heart of any brand is a recognisable name. Good branding can turn even the most awkward of names into a mainstay, but a good name makes it infinitely easier. In China, a name is crucial. Chinese characters can have multiple meanings, adding a semantic layer which English lacks, so brand names have to be carefully selected with an eye to alternate readings. Famous e-commerce brand “Taobao” can be read to mean “digging for buried treasure,” a name that…

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5 Linguistic Facts

1. In English, the schwa is the most common phonetic sound ə –> this is known as a mid-central vowel This sound sounds like the sound someone makes when they’re trying to figure out their next lie…i.e. “uhhhhh…I didn’t do it…she did!” 2. Standard British English (The Queen’s English) is officially referred to as Received Pronunciation (RP) in Linguistics 3. RP is probably the most widely studied and most frequently described variety of spoken English in the world, yet recent…

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Word of the Day #2 – Serendipity

As the article about “Pulchritude” was well received, the Word of the Day series is continued. Today’s Word of the Day isn’t as obsolete as “pulchritude”, quite the contrary; it appeared rather recently in the English language. This word was chosen because of its exotic etymology, as it takes its roots in faraway Sri Lanka. Let’s talk about “serendipity”. The word serendipity is quite recent: it was first created in 1754, however it was not commonly used until the early…

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What if naming people followed the same rules as naming brands ?

The other day, I was browsing the internet and I chanced upon this picture. It made me wonder what it would be like if just like email addresses or brand names, our names had to be unique. What if a doctor or a town hall employee were to tell you: “I’m sorry Sir, the name Nicole is already taken. Nicole_435 and Nicole2323 are still available though. Do you want one of those or do you want to choose another name?”…

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Word of the Day #1 – Pulchritudinous

The previous blog posts often put the spotlight on brands, advertising or marketing but seldom focused on words. As Nomen is a naming company, and naming is mostly about juggling words and languages, it seemed important to take care of that oversight and dedicate a post to celebrating the beauty of words. Incidentally enough – or maybe not so much since I was the one deciding on this topic – the word of the day will be about beauty: pulchritudinous….

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From Duplo T to Brazuca, what’s in a football name ?

As the FIFA World Cup is now in its second week you may have noticed the football at the start of matches when the referee picks it up off its plinth.  It may not have occurred to you but the ball has a name! In the old days, the name of the official ball was often global and transnational with little reference to local colour and culture. Nowadays, the ball name claims its origin and has turned into a powerful…

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Do you know your brand history ? (True or False series #4)

Do you really know your favourite brands’ history as well as you think you do ? Test you knowledge thanks to the fourth part of the True or False series. In 1893, North Carolinian pharmacist Caleb Bradham creates a cola aimed to cure dyspepsia (more commonly known as indigestion or stomach pains). The drink he creates is composed of caramel, sugar, aromatic extracts and carbonated water. Bradham names it after himself, Brad’s Drink. In 1898, Bradham changes the name Brad’s…

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Do you know your brand history ? (True or False series #3)

Do you really know your favourite brands’ history as well as you think you do ? Test you knowledge thanks to the third part of the True or False series. This American brand was named after a French explorer: Antoine Laumet. Missioned by Louis XIV to explore America, he lands in 1683 in Acadia (a Canadian province) and claims the title of Antoine Laumet de Lamothe, sir of Cadillac. In 1701, he founds Fort Pontchatrain, now known as Détroit, which…

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Do you know your brand history ? (True or False series #2)

Do you really know your favourite brands’ history as well as you think you do ? Test you knowledge thanks to the second part of the True or False series. The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in Chicago. One of the 3 founders, Gordon Bowker, who had once been a writer before making a career as a businessman, wanted to name the place Pequod, after the hot-air balloon in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. But another founder, Terry…

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Do you know your brand history ? (True or False series #1)

Do you really know your favourite brands’ history as well as you think you do ? Test you knowledge thanks to this first part of the True or False series. Asics is a Japanese company that was originally named Aoki Shinjiro Ikuso Sportswear: Aoki Shinjiro (the founder’s name), Ikuso (Japanese equivalent of “Let’s go!”) and Sportswear (to give the name an international and “cool” touch). When the company decided to go global, the brand name was shortened to its initials…

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