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Creating a Legacy Company Name

Today’s Tip

Best Practice: Legacy company names are often are tied to a founder, geographic area or a product. Example: Ford Motor Company.

Belgian creates legacy company name

Belgian creates legacy company name

Today’s Article:  Creating a Legacy Company Name

Legacy names are often tied to a founder, geographic area or a product.

Examples: Disney (after Walt Disney the founder), Southwest Airlines (started in Texas serving that geographic area initially), or 20 Mule Team® Borax. (Francis M. “Borax” Smith. Smith established the first successful borax mining operation in 1872 at Teel’s Marsh, Nevada. Borax was transported out of the desert by a 20 mule team.)

Pros: Makes a strong connection with the founder, geographic area or a product.

Cons: Name is tied to the reputation of the person. If the person’s reputation becomes a  problem, the company has a problem. (Examples: Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong).

If the founder’s name does not take on its own independent company identity, like Dell Computers, versus being more associated with founder’s name, it may be harder to sell the business in the future.

Geographic name may limit it to a specific area or many times it becomes popular to use the same geographic area name in multiple types of businesses. With a lot of businesses with a similar name, it’s harder to stand out and be unique.

If a company name is built around a product, it may limit adding new products or services for future growth.

Geographic Legacy: Alabama Power Company, Alaska Air Group, America Railroad Industries, Aruba Networks, Aspen Technology, Bank of Scotland, Boise Cascade, Boston Scientific, Canadian Solar, Chicago Bridge & Iron, China Information Technology, Grand Canyon Education, Gulf Island Fabrication,  Hatteras Financial Group, Hawaiian Holdings, Houston Wire & Cable, Kona Grill, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Louisiana-Pacific Corp, North American Palladium,  Malibu Boats, Pacific Drilling, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Southern Company, Southwest Airlines, Tahoe Resources, Utah Medical Products, United States Steel Corp., or Vail Resorts.

Founders Legacy: Angies List, Biltmore Estate, Campbell Soup Company, Dell, Estee Lauder, Ford Motor Company, Hershey Company, Honda Motor Company,  J.C. Penny Company, J.M. Smucker Company, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, Ralph Lauren, Revlon, or Toyoto Motor Company.

Brand Name Filter
The brand name filter below will help you objectively evaluate how available and good a product name is.

Number System: 0-poor, 1-fair, 2-good, 3-excellent.
___ Easy to Say and Pronounce
___ Easy to Remember
___ Easy to Spell
___ Name is Web-Ready: Exact Match Domain Name with no hyphen (Domain Search)
___ Trademark is Available (Trademark Search)
___ Available in Your State (Online check with your State Department of Incorporation)
___ Social Media Identity Availability (Example Facebook (B2C), LinkedIn (B2B), etc.)
___ Stands out from the Competition in a Favorable Way
___ Has no Negative Meanings (Example: when translated to a foreign market’s language)
___ Name Allows You to Add New Services or Products in the Future
___ Number of Points


Action Step: Make a list of words to create a company name that is tied to a founder, geographic area or a product. Take the list of words and start combining them until you come up with 1-3 that you like. Next go to the name filter above to evaluate them.

Note: If you are having trouble coming up with a name that you like and is rated high by the brand filter, it may be time to look for an outside source to help you i.e. Ask the Expert.

Recommendation: In a branding process, it is important to look at product name possibilities in different name categories:  Literal, Attribute, Initials/Numbers, Word Combination, New Invented, Related, Alliteration or Rhyme and Inquiring. This helps you expand they way you look at your company, to find the best name to connect with your target market, that stands out from the competition and reflects your brand position.

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   Additional Resources

Return to Company Naming        Return to Brand Library      Return to Brand Yourself



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