These Are the Brand Names You’re Pronouncing Wrong

Some of the most well-known brands in the world are also some of the hardest to pronounce, according a new survey.

Solopress, a UK-based printing company, looked at the most commonly mispronounced brands based on Google search volume data, with the athletic shoe and apparel giant Nike topping the charts globally.

“A company’s name is often undervalued as a brand asset but in fact is one of the most important,” said Solopress head Richard Kemp.

Based on how often users ask Google for the correct way to pronounce a brand name, the top 10 searches are as follows, per Solopress:

Rank Brand name Category Total yearly search volume How to say it
1 Nike Global 306,000 Nai-kee
2 Hyundai Car 290,760 Hai-un-dai
3 Volkswagen Car 241,320 Volk-swaa-gn
4 Chipotle Travel & Hospitality 197,520 Chuh-powt-lay
5 Louis Vuitton Global 158.400 Loo-ee Vuh-ton
6 Google Global & tech 136,560 Goo-gl
7 Apple Global, Media & entertainment, tech 72,600 A-pl
8 YouTube Media & Entertainment 32,040 Yu-tube
9 Nissan Car 31,200 Ni-san
10 Adobe Global & tech 25,200 Uh-dow-bee

Brands with names that do not originate in the English language, like Louis Vuitton and Hyundai, are among the most challenging, Solopress found.

Nike — a consumer brand so well-known that most people can identify it just by its logo — was the most commonly mispronounced brand, with an ongoing debate of “Naik” versus “Nai-kee.” Founder Phil Knight confirmed the latter, two-syllable option in 2014.

A Nike corporate logo hangs on the front of their store at The Grove on April 9, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. The brand is facing boycott calls over its change to the design of…

Gary Hershorn/Corbis News

For travel and hospitality, Chipotle was the most commonly mispronounced. The brand is searched over 11 times more monthly compared to Uber, the second most mispronounced brand in that category.

“For travel brands, their aim is to cross international borders,” Solopress said in a press release. “However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their brand names travel well and are pronounced as they should be across the globe.”

The top travel and hospitality brand mispronunciations are:

Rank Brand name Total average monthly search volume How to say it
1 Chipotle 16,460 Chuh-powt-lay
2 Uber 1,450 Oo-buh
3 Marriott 430 Mar-ee-uht
4 Airbnb 240 Euh-bee-uhn-bee
5 Starbucks 130 Staa-buhks

In the food and beverage category, the Golden Arches took the crown.

“As the study takes into account worldwide search volumes, we can assume that these searches come from an international audience,” Solopress said.

McDonald’s was searched two times as often as the Mars candy company, and over 20 times as often as KFC and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons.

Rank Brand name Total average monthly search volume How to say it
1 McDonald’s 1,690 Muhk-do-nuhldz
2 Mars 760 Maaz
3 KFC 70 Kay-ef-see
=4 Tim Hortons 70 Tim Haw-tnz
=4 Red Bull 20 Red Buul
=4 Pizza Hut 20 Peet Suh-hut

For media and entertainment, Apple was not as easy as pie for global consumers.

“While these popular brands go to great lengths to keep us entertained, it seems that thousands of their audience members worldwide are entertaining themselves each month by trying to pronounce their brand name,” Solopress said.

The top mispronounced media and entertainment brands are:

Rank Brand name Total average monthly search volume How to say it
1 Apple 6,050 A-pl
2 YouTube 2,670 Yu-tube
3 Instagram 1,030 In-stuh-gram
4 Ubisoft 550 Yoo-bee-soft
5 ROBLOX 480 Row-bloks

While internet users flock to Google to find out how to pronounce something, the search giant itself is actually the most mispronounced tech brand, the survey found.

Rank Brand name Total average monthly search volume How to say it
1 Google 11,380 Goo-gl
2 Apple 6,050 A-pl
3 Adobe 2,100 Uh-dow-bee
4 Amazon 980 A-muh-zn
5 Tesla 810 Teh-sluh

In the automotive category, carmakers hailing from Europe and Asia are the most queried, led by South Korean juggernaut Hyundai.

Rank Brand name Total average monthly search volume How to say it
1 Hyundai 24,230 Hai-un-dai
2 Volkswagen 20,110 Volk-swaa-gn
3 Nissan 2,600 Ni-san
4 BMW 1,770 Bee-em-dub-all-yew
5 Renault 1,760 Reh-now

“While BMW seems quite simple, in its native German, the name sounds more like “bay-em-vay”, causing almost 2,000 searches for the correct pronunciation each month worldwide,” Solopress said.

Solopress suggests brands keep their names to four syllables or fewer and make sure “it is easy to spell and satisfying to say.”

“Although pronunciation errors are never completely avoidable, especially when taking the international market into account, steps can be taken to keep uncertainty to a minimum,” Kemp said.