February 24, 2007
Super Secret Naming Companies for Beginners
A recent post on Needlenose that had me laughing was entitled "On Super Secret Company Names": sometimes the company name has to actually hide what the company does — it is a name that tries to be bland and forgettable so the company can go about its business undetected (think James Bond’s Universal Exports or Valerie Plame’s Brewster Jennings & Associates).
According to SF Gate, Iran seems to have a series of front companies that are actually into nuclear development. Their names are Tamin Tajhizat Sanayeh Hasteieh, Shakhes Behbood Sanaat and Sookht Atomi Reactorhaye Iran. But these have been named pretty badly. Translated, they mean:
- Tamin Tajhizat Sanayeh Hasteieh: Corporation for Obtaining Nuclear Industries.
- Shakhes Behbood Sanaat: Division for Industrial Improvement.
- Sookht Atomi Reactorhaye Iran: Iranian Nuclear Reactor Fuel Company.
These are in fact corporate renamings; the original names were actually good and obscure: "Farayand Technique Co." and "Pars Thrash Co."
This article reminded me that it could be that some companies seem to "pretend" to be generic but through their own obscurity are becoming well known. Confused? Try the Olevia line of flat-panel TVs, which the New York Times calls "The No-Name Brand Behind the Latest Flat-Panel Price War" (subscription required). Olevia is a brand owned by the Syntax-Brillian Corporation, another name that is hard to remember and pronounce.
Couple that with last week’s news that GE is getting together with Asian based General Imaging Co. (now there’s a bland name worthy of a front company) to make cameras. The news is no longer "A major USA brand is outsourcing cameras to Asia." Instead we are learning the brand names of those companies that have remained nameless for so long. And those names sound established and boring and fait accompli. "General Imaging" is a name that I feel was clearly formulated to sound like a brand name extension of GE itself.
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