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April 24, 2019 |

10 Brands That Have Changed Their Names for Local Markets

They use the same logo and colors and, whenever possible, even the same slogan, but different names depending on the country they target. Have you ever wondered why some of the most famous global brands change their names for local markets?

A successful global strategy includes brand localization. This involves localizing the company website, product information, services, and marketing strategies to adapt them to local cultures.

Depending on how well the brand name translates into the local language, companies may need to change it to capture the attention of new customers.

Here are 10 brands that have changed their names for local markets to inspire your international marketing strategy.

1. Burger King

Yes, the giant fast food company is called “Hungry Jack’s” in Australia. The brand looks precisely the same as the U.S. version, except for the name.

In this case, the change was necessary to enter the market, as back in the ‘70s, the original name had been already trademarked by a restaurant in Adelaide.

The company’s Australian name is derived from a pre-existing trademark that Burger King had already registered.

When the name “Burger King” became available in Australia, the food chain tried to use it for some restaurants, but people were already used to “Hungry Jack’s.” The brand had to stick with the Australian name for marketing reasons.

2. Sprite and Coca-Cola

Sprite is called “Xuebi” in Chinese because the original name wasn’t a good fit for this particular market. The two words that form the Chinese version are Xue that means “snow” and “bi”, blue-green.

The name is easier to remember for Chinese audiences, which increases the brand’s chances of selling. Coca-Cola has a different Chinese name as well. The soft beverage is called “Kekoukele,” which translates to “tasty fun.”

3. Dr. Oetker

Dr. Oetker is a German brand that makes baking products and frozen pizza for many local markets in Europe. When the brand approached the Italian market, however, it needed a new strategy to convince the local population.

A frozen pizza with a German name would have quickly lost the battle in Italy. So the brand chose an Italian name to gain trust. First Cammeo, then later turned into Cameo, the German producer has been the brand with the highest sales of frozen pizza in Italy for years.

4. Walls

Part of the Heartbrand family of ice creams, Wall’s goes by multiple names across the globe. The ice cream is present in over 40 countries. It’s called “Frigo” in Spain, “Algida” in Italy, Turkey, and Greece, “Wall’s” in the UK, “Ola” in the Netherlands and South Africa, “Eskimo” in Austria, “Kibon” in Brazil, and “Streets” in Australia.

In this case, the strategy is to make the brand easily recognizable by locals and, at the same time, increase awareness and loyalty.

5. Dannon

Dannon is the localized version of the brand, which initially was called Danone. The world’s largest maker of dairy products had to change its name for the U.S. market, as the French name was hard to pronounce correctly.

Besides the name, the company also adapted its products to U.S. tastes. Americans prefer sweeter yogurt, compared to Europeans who consume it slightly more acidic.

6. Mr. Muscle and Mr. Clean

Another two brands that have changed their names for local markets are Mr. Muscle and Mr. Clean, both top products in the household cleaning industry. For instance, Mr. Muscle became “Mr. Musculo” in South America, which sounds more familiar to Spanish-speaking buyers.

Following a similar strategy, Mr. Clean changed its name to “Don Limpio” for Spanish buyers, “Meister Proper” for Germans, and “Mr. Propre” for French consumers in Belgium and France.

Mr. Clean needed a different name for the UK market as well. That’s because the original name was already taken. So, Brits wash their floors with “Flash,” a product that respects all the brand elements of the original (colors, slogan, voice) without the name.

7. Domestos

Domestos is a household cleaning solution produced by Unilever. While the product goes by its original name in most countries, the brand had to reinvent itself to survive in some specific countries.

Domestos has received the name “Domex” in the Philippines and India, while in Japan is sold as “Domesuto.” You can also buy it as “Glorix” in countries like the Netherlands, Russia, and Bulgaria, or “Vim” in Argentina, Brazil, and Vietnam.

8. Milky Way and 3 Musketeers

The candy bar Milky Way is completely different in Europe and the U.S. That’s because the version sold under this name is a product very similar to what Americans know as “3 Musketeers.”

There’s also a chocolate bar in Europe called “Mars,” which is pretty much the same as what Americans call “Milky Way.”

Confusing, isn’t it?

9. Degree

Another product by Unilever that has multiple localized names is Degree. The antiperspirants and deodorants originally from Australia are called “Rexona” in most of Europe (being the original brand name).

The product is called “Sure” in the UK and India, and “Rexena” in Japan and South Korea. In South Africa, the same product is sold under the name “Shields.”

10. Lay’s

One of the most loved products among brands that have changed their names for local markets, Lay’s is hard to find outside the U.S. under its original name. That’s because the brand decided to use the local names every time it acquired a local business in its industry.

In the UK, the brand is called “Walkers”, while in Australia it uses the “Smith’s” brand for marketing purposes. Also, Mexicans eat “Sabritas” and, if you’re in Israel, you need to order a bag of “Tapuchips” to get your favorite Lay’s.

Brands Change Their Names for Local Markets

Changing a brand’s name for a local market can be a challenge even for the best marketers. Sometimes, translating the original name is enough to create a local identity for your product. In other cases, you need an entirely new approach to attract and keep the attention of the local buyers.

Like all the brands listed above, you’ll need local insights and accurate market research before coming up with an appealing name that keeps the essence of your brand.

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