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Swiffer, BlackBerry, Febreze, Dibs, Dasani–all these brands have one thing in common. 

Their names were dreamt up by a small firm in Sausalito, California. Since 1982, Lexicon Branding has completed almost 4,000 projects in 19 countries. It charges anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000 a name.

The firm, founded by David Placek, has invested heavily in an area of linguistics called “sound symbolism,” which tracks the associations evoked by specific letters, across languages and cultures. For example, it found that ‘v’ conjured energy and aliveness–think Corvette and Viagra–while ‘b’ and ‘t’ recalled reliability–as in BlackRock, T-Mobile, and BlackBerry.

Watch our video to learn why a name might make you choose one product over another.