When you hear the word “amazon,” what do you think of? There’s a good chance that your first thoughts are not of the Amazon rainforest, but instead, the website that promises lightning-quick delivery and the best prices on the internet, Amazon.com. While the word initially meant something else, today the word amazon is synonymous with a business. What’s in a business name?
The Origin of the Name
Jeff Bezos started his business name search the same way that many entrepreneurs do—flipping through the dictionary. He wanted something that was unique and different, just like he wanted his business to be. He chose Amazon because of its exotic and memorable nature. The Amazon River is the largest river in the world, and he liked the connection between the biggest river in the world and the biggest bookstore in the world.
Bezos also wanted a name that would be easy to find on the primitive search engines and lists of the new internet. Because “Amazon” starts with “A,” he thought it would show up near the top of any alphabetized lists.
Building a Brand from Day One
From the start of his business, Jeff Bezos wanted to focus on branding. He knew that without compelling and memorable branding, his chances of growth would be slim. His point of view towards what makes a difference in business, a business name and branding, can be summarized in one of the first interviews he gave:
“There’s nothing about our model that can’t be copied over time. But you know, McDonald’s got copied. And it’s still built a huge, multibillion-dollar company. A lot of it comes down to the brand name. Brand names are more important online than they are in the physical world.”
That belief has been shown to be true over time, as Amazon has grown into one of the most recognizable business names in the world.
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