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The Secrets Behind Successful Brands

You’re wearing your favorite Nike sneakers and Lululemon pants when you head to the mall to do some shopping at the Gap. On your way there you grab a latte at Starbucks.

After a few good hours of shopping, you head to Panera to meet a friend for lunch. You Venmo her for the meal and then you both decide dessert is in the cards: Next stop, Häagen-Dazs.

All these brands are staples in our lives. But do you have any idea what their names actually mean? We’re here to help.
[Image: panera-is-a-portmanteau-of-the-words-pan-and-era.jpg]

Panera is a portmanteau of the words “pan” and “era.”

According to Panera’s Facebook page, the sandwich chain’s name “has Latin and Spanish roots.”

In Spanish, “pan” means bread and “era” means age or time. So put together, Panera means “age of bread.”

Ron Shaich, the founder of Panera, also told Fortune the name comes from the Latin word for breadbasket.

Adidas isn’t an acronym for “All Day I Dream About Soccer.”

If you, like me, thought Adidas stood for “All Day I Dream About Soccer,” you’re wrong. It turns out the athletics-apparel brand is named after its founder, Adolf Dassler, who started making sport shoes when he came back from serving in World War I, according to the LA Times. The name combines his nickname, Adi, and the first three letters of his last name.
[Image: lululemon-means-nothing-at-all-and-its-i...nounce.jpg]

Lululemon means nothing at all. And it’s intentionally hard to pronounce.

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson came up with the yoga-wear brand’s name because he thought Japanese people wouldn’t be able to pronounce it.

He wrote in 2009:

“It was thought that a Japanese marketing firm would not try to create a North American sounding brand with the letter ‘L’ because the sound does not exist in Japanese phonetics. By including an ‘L’ in the name it was thought the Japanese consumer would find the name innately North American and authentic.”

“In essence, the name ‘lululemon’ has no roots and means nothing other than it has 3 ‘L’s’ in it. Nothing more and nothing less.”

A representative for Lululemon told Business Insider that the brand’s name was chosen from a list of 20 brand names and 20 logos by a group of 100 people.
[Image: asos-is-an-abbreviation-of-asseenonscreen.jpg]

ASOS is an abbreviation of AsSeenOnScreen.

The British online retailer was founded as AsSeenOnScreen in 1999 and lived at The abbreviation ASOS — which, by the way, is pronounced ACE-OSS — quickly caught on, and the website was shortened to
[Image: soylent-gets-its-name-from-a-sci-fi-novel.jpg]

Soylent gets its name from a sci-fi novel.

Soylent — that meal-replacement drink that’s a Silicon Valley favorite — got its name from the science-fiction novel “Make Room! Make Room!” which is about how population growth depletes the world’s natural resources. In the book, soylent is a blend of soybeans and lentils.
[Image: gap-refers-to-the-generation-gap-between...d-kids.jpg]

Gap refers to the generation gap between adults and kids.

The first Gap store opened in 1969 with the goal of selling good jeans. The name referred to the generation gap between adults and kids.
[Image: wawa-is-named-after-an-area-of-pennsylvania.jpg]

Wawa is named after an area of Pennsylvania.

The convenience-store chain’s name means two things: 1. It’s the name of the area in Pennsylvania where the company’s first dairy farm was located. 2. It’s a Native American word for a Canada Goose (the one pictured in the company’s logo).
[Image: hagen-dazs-may-sound-danish-but-its-comp...ade-up.jpg]

Häagen-Dazs may sound Danish, but it’s completely made up.

Reuben Mattus, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, named his ice-cream company Häagen-Dazs as a way to pay tribute to Denmark, according to an interview with the Jewish news publication Tablet Magazine. But the name doesn’t actually mean anything.

“The only country which saved the Jews during World War II was Denmark, so I put together a totally fictitious Danish name and had it registered,” Mattus said. “Häagen-Dazs doesn’t mean anything. [But] it would attract attention, especially with the umlaut.”
[Image: jcpenney-is-named-after-its-founder-whos...e-true.jpg]

JCPenney is named after its founder, whose name is just too good to be true.

With a name like James Cash Penney, it’s as if the retail founder was born to make money.

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