Brand names are kind of a funny thing. If a company is successful enough, you start to associate their name with the product and/or service without even thinking about it. One day, a brand doesn't exist, then it starts to make a mark on the culture, and then before you know it, you're exasperatedly telling your friend to “just Google it!” when your parents would've said “go look it up at the library!” barely a generation ago. The way a catchy song can earworm into your brain so hard you start humming it without realizing it? There are teams marketing pros and desperate aspiring entrepreneurs who spend their days trying to accomplish that with a single word. 


Who doesn't know Starbucks or Spotify? Not many people! But who knew about them before the beginning of the 21st century? That's the trick. And if you're going to keep their name in your mouth, you might as well know where it comes from. Here are 14 origin stories of big companies' names. 

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