Geographic terms as brand names

You want a brand name with a good sound to it. Indeed, many place names around the world have good sounds.

What do I mean by good sound? A good sound is lyrical. It echos in your ears and resonates in your memory.

Not every language has an equal number of such lyrical words. In general, tonal languages, because they are often not multisyllabic, have fewer such lyrical sounding words. Chinese, for examples, has very few lyrical words. If one were to create lyrical sounds in Chinese, one would have to make up phrases.

Unfortunately, English, too, isn’t very rich of lyrical words.

But it’s even worse with German, Polish, and Russian.

Arabic and Hebrew are better. In general, languages with gramatical rules for syllable duplication or syllable insertion tend to generate more lyrical words. A good number of native American languages fall into this category.

Mississippi has a great sound. And so do Tennessee and Alaska. As you can see, or hear, vowel repetition contributes to magical sounds. Such vowel repetition causes rythm or harmony in sound, or both.

New Jersey and Vermont do not have this lyrical sound quality.

Many geographical names also cause exotic and romantic associations in the minds of many people. Madagascar, Himalaya, Marrakech,Dushanbe…

But there are several severe drawbacks to geographical terms as brand names.

Most importantly, they will be heavily used at their actual geographic location. Thousands of businesses will be named Mississippi something in Mississippi.

And some of the places with harmonious and romantic sounds may turn out to be dirty shitholes when you go there.

Less drastic terms may apply to Marrakech or Dushanbe, but just spend three days on site to cure yourself of any romantic connotations.

So, at the end of the day, and in spite of good sounds, I would advise against the use of geographical terms as brand names.


1 L. W. Turley, Patrick A. Moore, Brand name strategies in the service sector, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 12 Iss: 4, pp.42 – 50 1984

2 Sanjeev Agarwal, Michael J. Barone, Emerging Issues for Geographical Indication Branding Strategies, Digital Repository @ IOWA State University 1-2005