The world of business is one that’s constantly changing. From the emergence of new markets to the evolution of consumer trends and technology, no company can afford to stay stagnant for long. As a result, companies need to evolve or risk falling behind their competition—and sometimes this means rebranding. This can be especially true if your company name is outdated or otherwise imperfect (or even just not very memorable). Take a look at some examples below:
Google’s name was inspired by the number googol, a mathematical term for a large number. The company was originally called BackRub, but changed its name to Google in August 1998 after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a company named National Information Services Corp., which claimed that “Google” was too similar to its own brand name “Goggle.” Google cofounder Larry Page said he liked Googolplex (the largest finite number), so the team started calling their search engine “Googol.” They later dropped the extra “g” and added an L at the end because it sounded better than Gooogle or Goggle.
LG was originally founded as Lak-Hui Chemical Industrial Corp. in 1947, and it changed its name to LG Chem in 1995. Today, this multinational electronics company is headquartered in South Korea and produces everything from smartphones to washing machines. The original Korean name for the company translates roughly to “originally established by two families.” This name change was made in order to avoid confusion with another similarly named company called Lacheon Group; however, some people still use both names interchangeably when referring to our protagonist here today: LG Chem!
Nintendo was founded in 1889 and originally named “Nintendo Koppai,” which translates to “leave luck to heaven.” The name change was made in 1989 to reflect the company’s expansion into video games, not to mention its desire to distance itself from a literal translation of its original name. The name change came at an interesting time for Nintendo–the video game industry was experiencing massive growth thanks largely to titles like Super Mario Bros., which were released on both sides of the Pacific but became especially popular in Japan. The new name helped establish a more global identity for the company as it moved into new markets like North America and Europe; today it remains one of the biggest names in gaming worldwide (though you might know them best as just “Nintendo”).
AOL was originally called Quantum Computer Services, and it was a company that provided internet access and online services. AOL was founded in 1985 by Steve Case and Jim Kimsey, who wanted to create an easy way for people to connect with each other through the new medium of the internet. AOL acquired many websites over its lifetime, including AIM (America Online Instant Messenger) and ICQ–two of the most popular instant messaging platforms today–and became one of the biggest names in online communication before being acquired by Time Warner in 2001 for $160 billion dollars.
Pepsi was originally called “Brad’s Drink,” and was renamed Pepsi Cola in 1898. The company was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1961, and then changed its name to PepsiCo in 1964.
Yahoo was originally named Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. The company was founded in 1994, but rebranded in 1995 when it was acquired by Yahoo! Inc. Unlike many of the other companies on this list, Yahoo wasn’t inspired by a change in leadership or business model–its founder simply thought that “Jerry and David’s Guide” wasn’t catchy enough for an internet startup. Instead of going with something like “World Wide Web Directory,” he took inspiration from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (which had just been released) and decided on a name that would reflect both his love for science fiction as well as his desire for people to use his site often: Yahoo!
Best Buy is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States. The company was originally named Sound of Music, but changed its name to Best Buy in 1983.
Blackberry was originally called Research In Motion, but they changed their name to Blackberry in 1999. The reason for this is that the fruit of the same name has a black color and also because “black” rhymes with “berry.”
Nike is the Greek goddess of victory. The company was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports and its first product was a running shoe. The logo was a winged goddess; their slogan was “Just do it.”
eBay is a website that allows people to buy and sell items. It was founded in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar, who later sold the company to eBay Inc., a public company. eBay has grown rapidly since its inception, with revenues reaching $8 billion in 2001 and net income reaching $2 billion by mid-2002. The site currently has over 100 million active users, who conduct over $1 billion worth of sales each day on its marketplace platform alone; this figure does not include PayPal or Skype (which eBay acquired).
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best company name changes of all time. The companies that have made this list are truly pioneers in their industries and deserve all the praise they receive for their hard work and creativity. If you’re looking for inspiration when it comes time for your business or organization to change its name, then look no further than these examples!