One of the things that I noticed when I started traveling more widely is that many well known brands have a different name, or logo, in different places around the world.

It seemed weird to me that they wouldn’t just keep the same brand name for brand recognition and consistency, but in a lot of cases, it just isn’t as easy as that. There are usually reasons behind the name change – and there can be some interesting stories behind them too.

Growing up in New Zealand there are a few brands that I grew up with that have different names in my new home country of the United States, and it is something that I have had to get used to. What I know as Rice Bubbles is known as Rice Krispies in the US, Coco Pops are known as Cocoa Krispies, and Milky Way Chocolate Bars are known as 3 Musketeers over here. Phew – it can get confusing!

An interesting study was undertaken by online label company, Data Label, researching a variety of popular brands around the world, to find out which brands use different names or logos in other countries, and the results were interesting.

One of the brands in the study is KFC. When I was in Quebec I noticed that KFC was known as PFK – short for Poulet Frit Kentucky. I thought this was unusual because even in France – and everywhere else in the world – it is still known as KFC.

The reason behind this name change is to do with Section 63 of Quebec’s French Language Charter, which states that the name of a business must be in French. You will also notice that Starbucks is branded as Cafe Starbucks in Quebec, also because of the Charter.

Another reason other than language that a brand may change it’s name when expanding internationally is because there may already be an existing brand in the country they want to expand to with the same name.

You will see the familiar burger picture from the Burger King logo in Australia, but the words between the buns are completely different – that’s because the name Burger King was already trademarked, so the first franchisee in Australia came up with an alternative name instead – Hungry Jack’s – and now all of the Burger Kings in Australia go by that name.

Wall’s Ice Cream is another brand that has the same recognisable red and white heart logo internationally, but they trade under 27 different names around the world!

Translation issues can also cause problems when a brand wants to expand into other markets. For example, the Chevrolet Nova sounds great in English, but they probably wouldn’t sell any cars in Spain with that name, because in Spanish ‘no va’ translates to ‘doesn’t go’ and if there is one thing you want your new car to do, it is to go.

With all of the confusion around different names for the same brand, it highlights the need for extensive research before launching a new brand, especially if the goal is to take it international.

It would save a lot of time and money in the long run, and would avoid having to operate under 27 different names around the world (I’m looking at you Wall’s).

So if there is a brand you love, maybe do a little research before you go traveling to find out if it has a different name in your destination country – otherwise you may just miss out.

What are your thoughts?

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