Snark Hunting pointed me to "Now What Shall We Call This Widget?" on the Conference Board web site. It's one of the better articles about the craft of naming, and it includes this gem of an anecdote about the genesis of Kodak:
Over a century ago, [Kodak founder George] Eastman approached the naming process in much the same way that many of today's brand and trade namers recommend -- playfully. According to company lore, he conjured it during a game of anagrams with his mother. He started with a letter. "The letter K has been a favorite with me -- it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter," he said. "It became a question of trying out a great number of combinations of letters that made words starting and ending with K." It sounds rather arbitrary, but Eastman had other reasons for settling on Kodak. "This is not a foreign name or word; it was constructed by me to serve a definite purpose," he explained on registering his trademark in Great Britain. "It has the following merits as a trade-mark word: First. It is short. Second. It is not capable of mispronunciation. Third. It does not resemble anything in the art and cannot be associated with anything in the art."
Be sure to read all three sidebars at the end of the article: on color naming (why did Crayola switch from descriptive color names to arbitrary ones like Manatee and Razzmatazz?), food naming (a study found that "cafeteria patrons ... buy more, eat more, and come back for more when menu items such as chocolate pudding are renamed, say, Satin Chocolate Pudding"), and Pacific Gas & Electric's fruitless 20-year investment in rebranding--a sad, instructive, and all-too-familiar story.