There are several iconic brands in the world today. Their name seems to be everywhere, as do their logos. These brands form a major part of people’s lives and can even have an impact on how a demographic thinks and feels.
The way these companies got to this point was through some brilliant marketing, a lot of effort, and perhaps lucky timing. While they may be household names, not everyone knows everything about their early days. Below are some interesting facts about some of the most well-known brands today:
How FedEx was Saved
When FedEx was still in its early stages during the 1970s, it was struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, though, the founder of the company, Fred Smith, was able to bail himself out. He did this in quite a random method which could have gone either way. While he was waiting for a flight, Smith had an impulsive idea and acted upon it.
This idea was to get on a flight to Las Vegas, the gambling capital of America. There, he managed to win $27,000 while playing Blackjack. This was enough for the company to fulfill its financial commitments for the time being. Now, we know of FedEx as being one of the leading courier companies around the globe.
Lamborghini and Pride
Lamborghini cars are well-known status symbols, but the company itself started out with manufacturing tractors. The owner was Ferruccio Lamborghini and was particularly interested in Ferraris and other luxury automobiles. He also owned his own Ferrari that he checked and maintained himself. When he found that his Ferrari’s clutch was broken and was very similar to his tractors, he requested Enzo Ferrari to give him a better one.
Ferrari responded in a somewhat insulting manner, saying that Lamborghini was only a maker of tractors and didn’t know about racing cars. At that, Lamborghini decided to get into the competition against Ferraris and the rest is history.
The Meaning of Lego
Lego blocks are a staple toy for children all around the world. Adults also love playing with them, especially as there are all kinds of editions being released every year. The name, however, is not without some meaning. Lego actually comes from the phrase ‘leg godt’. This is Danish for ‘play well’. Coincidentally, this phrase also exists in the Latin language, meaning “I put together”. The company claims they had no knowledge of this when deciding upon the name.
Coca-Cola and Prohibition
Coca-Cola was a creation of one John Pemberton and was first marketed as French Wine Coca. The advertisements called it a nerve tonic, and the main ingredients were cocaine and alcohol. The main point of this drink was to help people wean off their morphine addictions, Pemberton being among them. Pemberton also said that the drink could cure headaches, impotence, dyspepsia, and neurasthenia.
When the Prohibition passed in Atlanta during 1886, the drink had to forgo its alcohol content. The formula was then tweaked with a lot of sugar added instead of alcohol. Hence, the drink we know today was born.
The McDonald’s Logo
The famous golden arches of this franchise are a familiar sight, with the logo being among the most recognized shapes ever. However, we would be wrong to think that these arches are for the initial of the company’s name.
The original McDonald’s restaurant had golden arches as part of its architecture on each side. As the owner wanted a recognizable logo that people could spot from far away, the design was inspired by the architecture. As we know now, the idea worked perfectly.
The Nike Swoosh
Nike was first named BRA of Blue Ribbon Sports. Later, it got its current name from the Greek goddess Nike, who was the goddess of victory. Since she was also a winged figure in Greek mythology, this gave rise to the modern swoosh symbol that we know as Nike’s symbol. It’s for representing the wings and the goddess’ speed.
The most Iconic companies have well-known logos, but the stories behind them are often quite interesting. The simplistic Apple logo was a cause of much speculation, with many stories revolving around its origin.
One logical explanation for the apple and the bite taken out of it was that it’s a tribute to Alan Turing. This was the father of modern computing who committed suicide by consuming poison. He was found dead with a bitten apple by his side. While this does seem the most plausible story, the most accepted one is that apples were the favorite fruit of Steve Jobs. Other explanations include how Jobs was inspired for the logo by his visits to an apple orchard. The bite could signify the ‘byte’ of computer memory or just to differentiate the fruit from a cherry.
Speculations about the name include it being a tribute to Apple Corps Ltd., the multimedia company run by the Beatles. Another theory is that the founders simply wanted their own company’s name to be ahead of their rival Atari as far as alphabetical order was concerned.
Google’s First Name
The name of Google is one that almost every internet user comes across each day. In fact, it’s now even used as a verb in modern vernacular. However, the first name of Google was quite unique, albeit a bit creepy. It related to the algorithm on which the search engine was based, named ‘Backrub’. Even the logo was different, being a scanned version of Larry Page’s hand.
Eventually, the founders changed the name to Googol when the company expanded. This meant a one with a hundred zeros following it. It was meant to indicate the vastness of information provided by the website. However, one investor misspelled the name on a check and it simply sounded better that way.
Fanta and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany was probably one of the most harrowing phases of history. During the Second World War, the country had several trade embargoes against it, which lead to a dearth of ingredients for many products. These included soft drinks, so Coca-Cola Deutschland was in a quandary. The head of this branch, Max Keith, hit upon the idea of making a whole new drink out of what they did have.
The new beverage was made from what is said to be the ‘leftovers of leftovers’. The name Fanta came from the German word Fantasie, which mean imagination. After all, a lot of imagination had to go into making something entirely unique from a very limited supply.
Timings of 7-Eleven
7-Eleven is a convenience store chain that’s also gone global with several franchises. The original name for these outlets was ‘Tot’em Stores’. Later, the name 7-Eleven was brought in so that they could advertise the extended hours of 7 am to 11 pm. Now that the stores usually operate round the clock, the name is not really relevant anymore. However, it does have the brand value, so it stays unchanged to this day.
The most famous brands today might be an everyday part of most consumers’ lives now, but they all have some interesting stories behind them. There are also several lessons one can find in the history of each iconic brand. Since these companies have proven their success, any entrepreneur would do well to learn from them and hence bolster up their own development.