The best and worst brand names in Taiwan / by Chris Hubbard

Taiwan may be a small country, but it’s brand ambitions are large. In the past, creating powerful brand names that could hold their own internationally, probably wasn't at the top of anyone's priority list. But today, as increased competition from China and the rest of Asia—and frankly, the whole world—demands Taiwanese companies become more brand savvy, choosing the right names has become an essential component for reaching the top—of any list.

The brand name is usually the first point of reference anyone has with a company, their products, or services. This remains as true in Taiwan as it does in the rest of the world. If the name is weak—looks like a typo, doesn't make sense, is uninspired, or limits future growth as a brand—it can have a long-lasting effect on brand perception that can often be–but not always—impossible to remedy. 

While Taiwan still has its fair share of poorly named brands and products–as any country in the world has—there is an increasing number of brands who are doing things right. Here are my picks for the best and worst brand names in Taiwan.

the best brand names in Taiwan:

 

1 - Cozzi

This hotel brand name has always been one of my personal favorites in Taiwan. It's direct and meaningful and suggests exactly the kind of place I want to stay when traveling away from home. The word Cozzi easily conjures up images of ultra comfortable beds and sofa chairs–the kind that I want to sink into, and relax forever. Again, the letterforms are visually interesting as well, with the Z's—in a way—reassuring me that's exactly what I'll be getting a lot of if I stay at Cozzi.

 

2 - GOGORO

As fun to say as their scooters are to ride, the word Gogoro might not be a real word, but it’s as unique as they come in Taiwan. Without even knowing the true story behind the name, I feel it’s suggestive enough to give me a positive perception of the brand personality. Visually it feels appropriate as well. All those O’s and G’s give the name itself a scooter-like look and feel that make it almost impossible to forget. 

 

3 - Dùa

This name is good for a number of reasons. For one, it's meaningful. The word "Dùa" is the Taiwanese word for the Mandarin word "Zhu", which in English means "the physical place in which you live." Like your house. However, the Taiwanese word goes much deeper than that, referencing the place in which you truly live your life. Although the name is meaningful, it's actually very common, and using common words for brand names is not always easy for Taiwanese brands. It shows a lot of confidence to not only use a common word but use a Taiwanese one as well. 

 

4 - PhotoFast

While "PhotoFast" might not appear to be the most creative brand name out there, it works pretty darn well as a descriptive name for a product that could easily be confused for a multitude of other computer related USB looking devices. Sometimes a wildly unique name isn't what a brand actually needs for it to succeed. Sometimes it just needs to say what it is. Knowing when that is—and is not the case—is the tricky part.

 

5 - Acer

Here is a good example of a name I didn't like at first, yet has grown on me over the years. The name is plenty evocative for a brand that's at the top of their game—the ace if you will—of computers, smartphones, and gaming technology. While I don't feel their current logo does the name much justice, I do feel the letter-forms work very well together; creating a visual presentation that feels incredibly appropriate for a technology brand. 

 

The worst brand names in Taiwan:

 

1 - Zyxel

If I can't say it with confidence, then I'd be willing to wager that nobody outside of the company can either. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is creating a name that looks like it might be a typo, or worse, a prescription allergy medication

 

2 - D-Link

For a brand that's focused on connectivity and "linking" technology—for homes, devices, computers and more—a name that sounds like "delink" doesn't seem to be the perfect fit. A name like this is a great example of a company unnecessarily incorporating elements of a previous name—in this case, the "D" from Datex—rather than creating a name that's not only right for their brand, but simple as well. 

 

3 - Luxgen

In linguistics, when two words are combined to create a new one, it's called a blend word. Creating blend words can be an extremely creative way to name a brand. FedEx is a well-known blend name. But creating blend names that don't sound forced—or worse, cliché—can be difficult to achieve. It took me two seconds to think "luxury generation" when I saw this name. Using "generation" in any name is about as cliché as it gets. Luxgen saves some face with their cars, however, which are actually pretty cool looking.

 

4 - Mega international Commercial bank

Really, are you mega? I guess that means you're like, really really really big. This is probably the least subtle name I've ever seen in Taiwan. 

 

5 - HTC

I don't hate this name any more than the people who run this successful mobile technology company do. They even poked fun at the name themselves in a funny series of commercials—featuring Robert Downey Jr.—that explore what the acronym might actually mean. It isn't the worst name ever, but it's not great and is a good example of a name that a brand got stuck with because they got too big to change it.

 

In conclusion:

Creating great brand names isn't easy, but it's not impossible. There's no one type of name that is always right or always wrong. The key to developing great brand names lies in understanding what it is you're trying to communicate, your brand personality, and your long-term brand strategy. If you can nail those three things, chances are you'll end up with a name that's more than just good—one that's really great. 

If you're interested in learning more about brand naming, and what it takes to create and evaluate one, join our Greativities event coming up in May at the DDG office, and follow me on Twitter for updates.