When in doubt, pick Latin

Latin is a great language for brand development.

Prius, Nivea, Volvo, Novartis, Nvidia, Verizon, all hail from the same place. If you want to be first, pure as snow, turning on four wheels, introducing a new art, envious to the point of innovative burst, or seeing beyond the true horizon of communication possibility, then you are already Latin, a capillo usque ad ungues, from tip to toe.

My friend is building a business whose name I helped coin. And by coin I mean discover, not create, as the word, in Latin otium, was already running currency in ancient times. Otium may be translated as ‘leisure’, capturing the idea that there is a part of the day which should not be dedicated to business, or negotium, but to matters of the heart, the soul, the mind, or as we would say today, of self-development.

When in doubt about a new brand, go Latin. One of the most famous forum websites may have an arcane and faux-Latin name, Quora, but it makes the point clearly: Latin sells, as it always has.

For a long time I thought the sport shoes brand ASICS was a pun on the word BASICS, but I then found out it is another Latin concoction in the form of an acronym: Anima Sana In Corpore Sano.

I don’t know whether I should praise the Japanese who turned to Latin or scold them for misreading the Latin poet Juvenal, who in his famous Satire 10, wrote that you should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body, mens, not anima, meaning soul or vital principle, in corpore sano. But I suppose MSICS is hardly a brand you’d rather wear on your feet than on your computer screen.

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