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Friday, 15 March 2013 7:00

Name Relevance

By - Michael Rader

A crisp, fizzy drink with an encounter that is instantly refreshing and followed quickly by a sweet and frigid bite. Pepsi. Why does this name work? On the surface this name appears altogether unrelated to soda so where is the relevance?

Relevance can be revealed through a few different facets.

  1. Root Definitions
  2. Direct Relation
  3. And Creative Relation

Let’s briefly look into each one of these.

Brandroot features a brand name called Bezire. Using the prefix Be-, meaning to exist, and combing it with the made up word zire, we form a word that sounds very similar to “desire.” Using this idea, we describe the word as “The desire to be.” A name like this can work well for a social network or even a health and fitness company. Below are several examples of this relevance style:


The former children’s toy brand, Triang, formed its name using the three brothers who founded the company, William, Walter and Edwin Lines. The company name is derived from the prefix Tri-, meaning three, combined with “ang” to evoke the thought of a triangle. The three Lines brothers. This is an exceptional example of using a common prefix with a very relevant invented word.


Acer, an information technology and electronics corporation, has a Latin translation meaning, sharp, keen, eager or fierce. Although it is a made up of an English word, it takes on a back meaning, giving it relevance and a description of the quality of computers it offers.


Lego is the combination of the Danish "leg godt", which means to "play well.” In Latin it also means, "I put together.”


Using a combination of English words and a Latin word, the employees of a pharmaceutical company came up with the word Hospira as their name. It is the combination of the words hospital, spirit, inspire and the Latin word, spero, meaning hope.


Pepsi was first introduced as "Brad's Drink" by Caleb Bradham. Bradham wanted a fountain drink that was delicious and would aid in digestion and boost energy. It was later labeled Pepsi Cola, named after the digestive enzyme pepsin and the kola nuts used in the recipe.

Direct Relation – A made-up word can be a combination of multiple real words, perhaps only one of them pertaining to the business while the others work as emphasis and distinctiveness. This is direct relation. While it is not an outright description of the product or service, it uses a word within the invented word to suggest the brands idea or purpose.


Hotmail is a good example. This is a made up word comprised of two common words and immediately implies its general purpose of “mail.” The word “Hot” adds emphasis and grants it creative independence from other email services.

Medica..., a company that provides popular health plans, is another prime example. It obviously uses the keyword “Medic” to emphasize its health services, and includes the “a” to give it creative independence from its competition. It is also simply the word “Medical” with the “L” dropped. Many invented, relevant words can be created in this fashion. This is unlike, which is still the same pronunciation by dropping the last letter. These types of names are not so popular because they tend to look more like a misspelling than a creative decision.

Creative Relation – is a video-sharing website, where users can upload, share and view videos. Unlike YouTube, Vimeo restricts video uploads to only videos created by its user. Nothing commercial is allowed. While Vimeo is a completely made up word and has no direct relation to the sites content, we can find relevance through its use of creativity.


The name Vimeo, created by co-founder Jake Lodwick, is a play on the word “video” by inserting the word “me” in place of “de.” This is obviously in reference to its focus on user-made videos. In this way, the relevance is not only made through rhyme of its content, video, but also by including an element of its intention, to accept videos created by me.

Another not so obvious use of creative relation within Vimeo is its hidden anagram. Unscramble this pronounceable word and find another word very much related to it, “Movie!” This invented word is jam packed with creativity and is perfectly relevant to its purpose.

Hotmail... Again...

Looking at Hotmail again, we can also find some creative relation. The name includes the letters “HTML” – the markup language used to write web pages. It was actually initially referred to as HoTMaiL with the selective upper casing.

Why is so popular while is almost unheard of? Get a deeper look into this business name phenomenon in our upcoming article, Common Name, Common Mistake.

Here a few other ways you can incorporate creative relation into your next business name:

  • Rhyming
  • Symmetry
  • Word combos
  • Pronounceable anagrams
  • Working with trendy words
  • Word look-a-likes
  • Wordplay
  • Puns and other linguistic trickery

Last modified on Sunday, 21 April 2013 2:24

Michael Rader

With over ten years in web development and design, Michael Rader has expertise and technical know-how. But more than a skilled technician, he is an entrepreneur and innovator who helps startup’s and new businesses identify and define their future with a unique, brandable business name. Michael Rader is the founder and CEO of Brandroot®, a leading .com domain name marketplace. He currently lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where he operates the business and authors a blog dedicated to naming and brand name establishment.