Tylenol®, BAND-AID® brand, Benadryl®, Neutrogena®: universally recognized brands, all under the banner of a single company. For 136 years, Johnson & Johnson has been synonymous with consumer health, a ubiquitous presence on store shelves across 130+ countries. In 2022, however, that was set to change.
To give its consumer health business the agility to better innovate and grow across its categories, Johnson & Johnson was planning to create two standalone companies. One would keep the Johnson & Johnson name. The other needed a new corporate name—one that would build on its rich history of innovation and consumer focus, while providing the scalability to evolve boldly into the future.
Company leadership tapped Lippincott as their dedicated naming specialist with global expertise, and we embarked on a nine-month journey to create a name that would resonate with more than 20,000 employees and billions of consumers worldwide.
We knew the naming process would have a unique set of strategic and creative challenges. The foundational requirement was to invent an entirely new word, as it couldn’t be like anything familiar—or similar by more than two letters—to millions of other brands worldwide across several trademark classes. At the same time, it was critical to the brand strategy and corporate culture that the name not sound like a product. We understood that we had to convey the warmth and humanity of a company that makes trusted consumer health and personal care products. Finally, the new name would need to be free of undesirable meanings and associations across the globe.
After diving deep into the culture and history of the business and conducting internal research to understand the perspectives of employees and leadership, we kicked off a process that pushed the bounds of language to create an own-able, short name that felt warm, welcoming, and inclusive. The name had to complement the in-market product brand names by living on packaging and standing for a compelling and unifying idea.
After generating over 12,000 names, conducting 2,000 legal checks, screening names linguistically and culturally across 89 languages, and in close partnership with a small, internal team at Johnson & Johnson, we landed on the solution: Kenvue.
“Kenvue’s debut is the biggest U.S. IPO since EV maker Rivian went public in 2021.”
Kenvue is a compact yet powerful name that stands for the fusion of knowledge and vision. “Ken” is an English word meaning “to know,” and “vue” is French, referring to insight. And, even more fitting, “K” comes after “J” in the English alphabet, a subtle nod to Kenvue as the name of the consumer health sector’s next chapter. Then, with an eye towards global growth, we created the brand’s Chinese name, which successfully achieved phonetic similarity with the English name.
Along with partnering on the creation of the new name, Lippincott worked with company leadership to prime employees for the launch of the new name via a five-part educational video series that dove into the complexities of the global naming process and to rally them around it.
Kenvue was officially announced in September 2022, poising this world leader in consumer health for exciting growth as it forges ahead in its planned next chapter as a standalone company.