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What's in a company's name?

Oklahoma companies reveal the origins of their names. From Pale Hose to Mariposa to Integris Health and Petra Industries, there's meaning behind them all.
by Paula Burkes Modified: January 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: January 26, 2014

When Bill Wasinger started his communications company as a side business in the early 1990s, he named it for his favorite baseball team — the Chicago White Sox, more familiarly known as “the Pale Hose.”

Wasinger said he figured dubbing his firm “Pale Hose Communications” would serve as an attention-getting name and pay homage to his beloved Sox. “I actually never thought it would become a full-time entity, so I never gave too much thought to the name,” he said.

However, after more than 20 years of awkward phone conversations — “It's Pale Hose, not Pale Horse” — and many explanations of the name's derivation, Pale Hose Communications still stands, Wasinger said. Though these days, he nearly always shortens it to “Ph Communications,” he said.

Unique branding

Oklahoma City brand consultant Malena Lott has named several Oklahoma City businesses — starting in 2006 with her own brand consulting firm, the Athena Institute, which is named for the Greek goddess of wisdom. She branded Mariposa MedSpa after the Spanish word for butterfly, a symbol of transformation and beauty, and Verge Network Solutions because its clients are on the verge of growth and transitions.

“I typically look for names that have both meaning and are unique enough that they can own the name in the sector, both geographically and, ideally, nationwide,” Lott said. “It's not just about being creative, but about being true to the brand promise,” she said.

Integris Health was borne from a desire for integrity and integration, publicist Karen Wicker said.

“Integrity because of the organization's long-standing commitment to high-quality care, and integration because it was formed at a time when the statewide Baptist Health Organization and Baptist Medical Center were joining forces with Southwest Medical Center,” she said.

Wicker christened her own firm “Candor PR” as a tribute to her family names of Chandler & Wicker, whose Latin roots are chandelier and wick, which means to thread transparency through a single point of illumination, like a candle, her company logo.

The following is a sampling of other Oklahoma organizations with the origins of their names:

Aegis Roofing. The word aegis is identified with protection by a strong force with its roots in Greek mythology, co-owner Jonathan Marks said. The aegis is the breastplate of Athena and Zeus.

Bama Pie Company was named after the founder's wife, Cornelia Alabama Marshall.

Canadian Valley Technology Center. The school was named for the North and South Canadian rivers, which run through the heart of its district.

Cardinal Engineering. Founder Steve Mason named the firm for the Cardinal Rule, Stanford Cardinal (he's a Stanford University alum) and the St. Louis Cardinals (he's a fan).

“The pope has cardinals and cardinals are the prettiest birds outside my window in Oklahoma City,” he said. “An image is better than a person's name or some weird made-up word for a company name. I didn't want to name it ‘Mason Engineering,' as my goal was a company more than me.”

Chaparral Energy was named for a street on which the founder lived.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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Company naming tips

Keep it short. What do Nike, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, DreamWorks, Pixar, and eBay have in common? They're all only two syllables. Studies show that brevity lends itself to memorability.

Tell a story. The Holt Tractor Co. renamed itself Caterpillar after a photographer who took an aerial photo of its tractor noted it “crawled like a caterpillar.”

Make it up. Combine two words or concepts, spell a word incorrectly, or make one up like Google or Gizmodo. Customers appreciate independent, risk-taking brands.



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