Hi Liam! I recently discovered your articles on Medium and am thoroughly enjoying them, thanks so much for sharing all this knowledge. I particularly loved how you nerded out on the history side of this, really awesome (it appeals to my inner history geek anyway). I’m not sure if I agree with your conclusion at the end, that a company can overcome any negative naming heritage. I wonder if this is only the case if you have a product in an entirely different category than the problematic name associations, or a lot of cash to throw at building the right associations. We recently were approached by a client in the family planning sphere in East Africa who had chosen a name that meant ‘to treat’ in a local language. But upon further investigation, it also was slang for ‘your girl on the side’, which was pretty disastrous for a family planning service trying to market to women. As a result no women were taking the service at all serious or were willing to be seen with it. We helped the client rebrand, which did not lead to much loss of brand recognition, as they had not been able to get very far due to the naming issue. Curious to hear your take!

Working to see the day when organisations with positive social and environmental impact outperform traditional ventures. Weapon of choice: branding.