How to name a new brand in an age of global business


How will this word sound or look in a specific market?

When crossing global cultures or languages, you always want to make sure you’re protecting the brand and that the word doesn’t have a different meaning or sound incorrect in the native language. Be sure to always check with native speakers and ask, “How will this word sound or look in a specific market?”. 

In Japan, we have so many “Japanese English” words – gasoline stand (gas station), non sugar (sugar free), and baby car (stroller) to name a few – and while the differences in these instances are minimal, you could potentially make much bigger mistakes.

For example, Calpis is a milk-based beverage widely loved in Japan. "Cal" comes from calcium and "Pis" is from the Sanskrit word "Salpis," which is one of the five tastes described in Buddhism. In English-speaking regions though, the beverage is marketed as Calpico because the word “Calpis” sounds too much like "cow piss" in English. 

Nonetheless what matters most is to respect the market and its unique culture. And then you connect with people you are talking to.