The Evolution of a Classic Brand

In my book, Branding Insights for Small Business, I used the example of Exxon, the oil company which used to be called Esso:

Exxon Logo

Logo for company after changing its name in 1973



Old Exxon Company Name

Esso, Enco, and Humble were trademark brands of Jersey Standard Oil,

The powers that be at Esso needed to change the company name and they decided to let a computer select the name for them.

They fed the computer some parameters:

  • it had to have two syllables
  • double consonants
  • start with an “E”
  • be a name that wasn’t being used throughout the world and
  • no meaning in foreign language.

Exxon was supposedly the only word the computer came up with.

I like Exxon because it was the first company that used a computer for naming – or in this instance re-naming – a company.

Although this happened awhile ago, I still find this case study very interesting. And, at least they kept the colors the same!

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