Bad Brand Names that Make Good Business Sense




They don’t roll off the tongue, Lexicon doesn’t brag about having created them and you won’t find them tattooed on many hairless chests, but names like this one can serve their owners’ business interests well.

The Spanish company Gamesa (pronounced gah MEH sah) is a world leader in wind turbines. Gamesa is actually an acronym that stands for Grupo Auxiliar Metalúrgico, Sociedad Anónima. Even our readers who speak only American should be able to translate the first part. The second part, S.A., denotes a specific type of corporation. This naming protocol is common in Spain:

These are just a few of the many organizations that make acronyms/abbreviations/initialisms and their legal structure a part of their brand names. Even our beloved Inditex is shorthand for Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A.

Why do they choose names that are the creative equivalent of nails on a chalkboard? Two reasons. The first is history. Many of these companies were created decades ago, when brand identity models were still just a glint in David Aaker’s eye. The second, and more important reason, is gravitas. Being an SA requires investment that only makes sense for businesses of a certain size. Including it in the name is an easy (if indelicate) way to convey a sense of mass.

So while these names aren’t the kind that one tends to come up with during caffeine and sugar-fueled brainstorming sessions, they do serve their owners well in smoky boardrooms filled with captains of industry.

And it’s not just a Spanish phenomenon.

Some names just sound bigger, more serious, more established and more reliable. If you’re naming a new company, division, product or service, we’re not suggesting you lift one of these names. We are suggesting that you think carefully about what you’re offering and to whom, and then consider whether a name that’s less creative might actually be more effective.

After all, would you rather buy armored transport from General Dynamics or from Mobli? Or a urinal for your hospital from American Standard or WeeWorld? Actually, hold on a second. That’s not a bad name…

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