This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Nuts and Bolts: company names.

I used to have a publisher (perhaps I still do, though I don't think they've paid me anything for a while) called Beijing Dick and Sun Glory Children Reading Advisor Incorporated.

The name still delights me, especially as my other publishers tend to have boring names like Oxford, Pearson, or Collins.

But is it a good name?

The advice the business media company Forbes gives on its website is to keep a company name short, pronounceable, relevant and/or memorably clever. Good old Beijing Dick doesn't fulfill many of these criteria (though it is pronounceable) but it does have considerable charm, which goes for something (though not, sadly, for selling books, see above).

But the proof of the pudding, as so often, must be in the eating, so what are the names of the five biggest companies in the world? 

We have Walmart (which doesn't, as far as I know, sell walls); State Grid (power supplies); Sinopec Group (petrol refining); China National Petroleum(more petrol refining); Toyota (motor vehicles (this one is named after its founder)).

Throw in a few other successful companies such as Amazon and Apple, and you can see that only the being pronounceable rule seems to count for much. 

But now there is a new rule. China has just banned companies from having long or strange names. It's thought this ruling was triggered by a Chinese company called (deep breath):

There is a Group of Young People with Dreams Who Believe They Can Make the Wonders of Life Under the Leadership of Uncle Nui Internet Technology Co Ltd.

On the whole I don't think the Chinese need have bothered. I mean, how long is that company going to last?

Not very long under that name, I fear.

Word To Use Today: a favourite company name. Lego, perhaps, which is short for the Danish leg godt, which means play well.

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