A good brand name is a science in itself. Sometimes originality is the key, sometimes it just disturbs. Often the family name of the founder is used as a brand and is only given meaning by the quality of the products. Some brand names, on the other hand, remain so meaningless that the recognition value is almost zero. Others are obvious and sound good, but have another catch that may only become apparent over time. In the 1990s, for example, the US rock band Live made it really difficult for their fans to find them on the Internet.
Brand names are ubiquitous like the names of friends and colleagues. It is well known that Adidas is named after founder Adolf Dassler or that Aldi is made up of Albecht-Discount. AEG simply stands for “General Electricity Company”. But what’s behind DHL, what request is hidden in Lego, are there actually Maredos in South America and why should Aral be named after the Aral Sea?
Well-known brand names have this meaning
@Deutsche Post DHL Group
The Deutsche Post DHL Group has shaped the mail and parcel business in this country since 2015. So it would be obvious that DHL has something to do with “German” and “logistics”. In fact, the letters represent the initials of Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn. You founded an express service in San Francisco in 1969. It was taken over by Deutsche Post in 2002.
@imago images / MiS
Scandinavia seems to have a preference for four-letter word creations among brands. Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad combined the first letters of his name with those of his parents’ farm (Elmtaryd) and his home village (Agunnaryd). The name of the Swedish car brand Saab referred to the company’s background in aircraft construction. The acronym stands for “Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget” (Swedish Aircraft Corporation). Lego got its name in 1934, two years after the company was founded. According to the toy manufacturer, the made-up word is derived from the Danish “Leg Godt” (play beautiful). According to the company, the fact that Lego means “I collect” in Latin is a coincidence.
The Latin request in the brand name of the German car manufacturer is no coincidence. Audi is the translation of the surname of the company founder August Horch. It would not have been missing much and customers would drive through the country in a Horch A4 today. However, the mechanical engineer could not use his family name. In 1909 he founded A. Horch & Cie., Which he founded and named after him. Leave Motorwagenwerke Zwickau, which kept the trademark rights to “Horch”. So the engineer resorted to the Latin translation of his surname for his new company.
@imago images / Mario Aurich
Here, too, the company founders have immortalized themselves with their names. However, MAnfred Holl, Karl-Heinz REinheimer and UDO Schlote allowed themselves some freedom to produce a melodious name that conjures up impressions of juicy steaks from South America. In 1973 the first Maredo restaurant was opened on Berlin’s Ku’damm. In the following decades the company grew to almost 40 steakhouses. In March 2020, Maredo filed for bankruptcy.
@imago images / Horst Galuschka
A name that is so difficult to pronounce can really only be authentic. Why else would a company do such a tongue twister to itself? In fact, Hägen-Dazs is pure invention. In 1961, immigrants Rose and Reuben Mattus founded an ice cream brand in New York City. Their name should sound Danish (at least to American ears) and be original. The result was Häagen-Dazs. The irony of history: in 1980, the group sued the US ice cream maker Frusen Glädjé. He had given himself a Swedish name, which, however, does not make any sense in his supposed home country either. Häagen-Dazs accused the competitor of having copied its “unique Scandinavian marketing strategy”. New York judge Kevin Duffy dismissed the lawsuit. The word “grotesque” was used in the grounds of the judgment. In the end, however, Hagen-Dazs had the last word. Frusen Glädjé disappeared from the market a long time ago.
@imago images / Klaus Martin Höfer
Most people have no idea what detergent is made of. The name “Persil” gives at least a hint. It is derived from the most important basic chemical substances: perborate and silicate. In 1907, company founder Fritz Henkel invented “the world’s first automatic detergent”. While consumers today don’t even know what this means, the first customers were enthusiastic. “At the beginning of the 20th century, washing clothes was still hard physical labor that could take hours, if nothing even days,” recalls Henkel in the company’s history. With the innovative combination of detergent and bleach in powder form, the founder ensured that laundry could be cleaned hygienically by simply boiling it and without chlorine bleach. “In Germany, 5.2 million washes are washed with Persil every day”, the manufacturer informs and announces: “The brand awareness of Persil in Germany is almost 100 percent.”
@imago images / Future Image
After all, 99 percent of Germans are said to know Haribo. The brand of gummy bears and liquorice snails is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020. Haribo is named after its founder and his hometown: Hans Riegel Bonn. The family company is run by the third generation. It was the first time in 1935 with the first part of the famous saying “Haribo makes children happy”. 30 years later the addition “and adults as well” was added. Incidentally, Haribo has become unfaithful to Bonn. In 2018 the group moved to the Rhineland-Palatinate municipality of Grafschaft. “Bonn will forever remain a part of Haribo”, assured co-company boss Hans Guido Riegel.
Aral has nothing to do with the Aral Sea. Like Persil, it owes its name to two main ingredients. In this case it is the aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons in the fuel. In 1924 the chemist Walter Ostwald developed a new type of fuel from a benzene-gasoline mixture. He finally gave the company its name, founded in 1898 as the West German Benzene Sales Association. According to its own information, Aral has the largest petrol station network in Germany with around 2,400 stations nationwide. E.ON sold the joint-stock company to the British group BP in 2002 as part of the overall oil business.