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Naming Debacles:


The Year's Worst Name

    The year's worst name comes from, surprisingly, a multi-billion dollar corporation---proving that major naming mistakes are not just from under-funded start-ups.
     The press announcement says it all: The four divisions of Onyx North America providing solid waste, technical solutions, industrial and waste-to-energy services, have been brought together under our shared corporate name, Veolia Environmental Services. Our parent company, Veolia Environnement, has worked hard to establish this worldwide brand. The decision to operate globally under a single brand name reflects the guarantee of our expertise and know-how to manage both services and resources in the waste and environmental industries.
     After further investigation, I find that Veolia is the successor to Vivendi, a French conglomerate. And that "Veolia", is derived from Aeolus, the keeper of the winds in Greek mythology. Even more difficult to spell or pronounce, the website address,
     Perhaps the French are more intellectual, but in North America, we can't spell or pronounce this name. And obscure Greek mythology is, well, boring. Which brings us to another tenet of naming---if used globally, keep it simple and check translations in key languages.
     By the way, what was Veolia's positioning?

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