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Origin Stories: Stories Behind World-Famous Brands
Marketing Tactics

Origin Stories: Stories Behind World-Famous Brands

At CID, we believe in the power of strategic storytelling. From honoring their history and communicating their values to sharing their culture and passions with key audiences, storytelling is one of the most impactful and influential tools we use to help brands discover, solidify, and celebrate their identities.

One of the most interesting and exciting things about brand stories is that they can come from just about anywhere. No matter how big or small your company may be, when your story is told the right way it has the potential to resonate with everyone and anyone who hears it. 

Sometimes hearing someone else’s story can show us how to tell our own. So, if you’re wondering where to start in your brand story process, we invite you to draw inspiration from the lesser-known stories behind some of the world's most familiar brands.

Stories Behind Famous Brands

Google Avoids Making Water-Cooler Convos Weird

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the fact that no one has ever told us “Backrub” a question for them. Why? Because had the minds behind the world’s largest search engine not reconsidered its namesake, we’d all be Backrubbing our questions, talking to our coworkers on Backrub Meets, and ignoring the alarming number of unread messages in our Bmail accounts. 

Fortunately (very fortunately) for us and for the other 5 billion people around the world who use Google daily, that uncomfortable fate did not befall us. 

In 1996, Gates CS employees Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the initial search engine that would eventually become our go-to source for recipes, directions, medical queries, and more cat videos than we could ever consume. And yes, its first official name was indeed “BackRub,” which was supposedly intended as a “playful” nod to its analysis of web backlinks. 

Technically, the Google we all know today is only “Google” because of a fated misspelling that sort of just stuck. Its intended name, “Googol” was a derivative of “googolplex,” the word for the biggest non-infinite number that humans are capable of calculating and coincidentally, the number of cat videos currently on the internet. Probably. 


ADIDAS Turns Things Around

For anyone who thinks that ADIDAS is an acronym for “All Day I Dream About Sports,” we regret that we’re the ones telling you that you’re wrong. Clever, but wrong. We truly are a little sorry, because the actual story behind ADIDAS’s name is significantly less...friendly. 

ADIDAS was actually named after the company’s founder, Adolf Dassler. And while that might feel like a pretty lackluster fun fact, the history behind the brand’s rise to popularity is arguably more concerning. 

As the story goes, Adolf Dassler was well-known for two reasons:

1.) He was a famous member of the Nazi party. 

2.) He hated his brother so much that he made a whole company about it. 

As it turns out, Adolf’s brother Rudi Dassler was the founder of long-time ADIDAS rival, Puma. Reportedly, Adolf’s deep-seated disdain for Rudi was so powerful that it inspired the creation of an entire company — one that Adolf created for the sole purpose of outperforming his brother’s. 

Fortunately for ADIDAS and ADIDAS fans alike, the brand is now far removed from the unfriendly aspects of its founder’s origins and has evolved into a symbol of sportsmanship, the spirit of athleticism, and a heart for competition that is decidedly friendly.



BMW's High Flying History

The origin story behind auto mogul BMW is one that it wears proudly. Literally. Certain elements of the brand’s iconic logo are representative of some of the most influential chapters in the company’s 108-year history.

The blue and white quarters in the center of the circular logo are an homage to BMW’s history in aviation. During World War I, the company supported military efforts by manufacturing aircraft engines. Consequently, the logo’s bright colors and symmetrical shapes were reportedly chosen to signify the motion of an aircraft propeller. The combination of these design elements results in an image that was intended to replicate a plane flying in a blue sky.


Louis Vuitton Goes From Boxes to Bags

For many, the name “Louis Vuitton” elicits images of fashion shows, models, runways, and the like. The brand is firmly rooted in its luxury status and aesthetics, which is why it may surprise you to learn about its blue-collar beginnings.

Owner, founder, and company namesake Louis Vuitton was born in a working-class village in the French countryside. In 1835, Louis left home at the age of 16 to pursue his passions in Paris, the epicenter of fashion and culture. After working for years as an apprentice box-maker and packer, he eventually the personal box-maker and packer for Empress Eugenie.

By the early 1850s, his unique combination of experiences and connections put him in the position to open his very own Parisian packing workshop, which was the catalyst for the fashion empire the brand represents today.

Tell Your Story

Whether they’re rooted in history, products of passion, reflections of a legacy, or the result of a funny but fortuitous typo, every brand has an origin story worth telling. If you’re ready to celebrate your brand’s origins or looking for a strategic, creative partner who can support you while your current chapter unfolds, the experienced storytellers on our team are ready to help you share your story with the world.

Looking for a talented, collaborative team that can help you write your brand’s story and share it with the world? Contact CID to get started.

Amy Klinkhammer

Amy Klinkhammer-Thomas

Copywriter & Content Specialist

"Bring in the Klinkhammer," they said...and we did! Amy is part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she writes for ads, email, the web, video and so much more. She also drinks too much coffee and spends too much time debating the Oxford comma.

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