Naming of Viking Range
By March of 1984, Fred Carl, Jr., had spent three years designing and developing the first commercial-style range for home use as a part-time venture, all the while operating a successful design/build construction company in Greenwood, Mississippi. Preparing to introduce his product to the market, Carl decided it was time to name his product and formally start the company. He realized that the importance of finding a name that would define this new genre of appliances was paramount.
Carl called on Hammons & Associates, a local ad agency owned by a long-time friend, Allan Hammons, to assist him in the process of naming his new company. Hammons called together three key employees for the assignment and the group assembled in a conference room at the ad agency for an intensive creative brainstorming session. Their goal was to generate a name to embody Fred’s concept of a commercial-type range for home use that would combine the powerful performance features of professional restaurant ranges with the safety and convenience features of traditional consumer ranges.
For several hours the group shared thoughts and ideas about what the product stood for, its proposed positioning in the marketplace, and how Fred wanted his new range, and company, to be perceived. The group was looking for a strong, definitive name for this new range that would be like no other in existence.
Fred’s original ideas of "Carlton", a take on his own name, or "Leflore", his wife’s maiden name, were prospects, among a number of others. As brainstorming progressed, the name "Viking" also surfaced.
After extensive discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of various names, the group narrowed their choices down to five possibilities. Each member ranked the names in order of their preference. When the rankings were completed, each member of the group read their results aloud to the others. "Viking" emerged as either the first or second choice of each participant.
Discussions continued and the group began to focus more on the name "Viking." The more they talked, the more comfortable each member of the group became with "Viking;" however, they felt the real test would lie with others’ opinions on the proposed name.
The group decided to conduct a quick, informal survey to confirm and validate their preliminary preference for the name "Viking." Each member of the group would call three to five people whose judgment and opinion they valued - people with good creative instincts and an appreciation for unique, high quality products. It would be explained that the product was a heavy-duty stainless steel, professional style range normally found in restaurant kitchens but in this case, expressly designed for home use. The test group would then rank the five names in order of preference.
A few days later the advertising group returned to the conference room. With much anticipation, each member ranked the list of five names based on the test results, starting with the least favorite names at the bottom and working their way to the top
Each member of the group read their results, and "Viking" again emerged as either the first or second name on everyone’s list. "Viking" was the obvious choice for the name of Fred’s new product and his new company.
On March 22, 1984, Fred Carl, Jr. incorporated Viking Range Corporation with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office. He then commissioned Hammons & Associates to design the company’s logo, intent on it projecting an image of strength, robustness and unfailing performance in keeping with the name "Viking."
Thus began the saga of the brand that became the first commercial-type range for the home and ultimately created an entirely new category in the major appliance industry worldwide. Over 25 years since production began in January 1987, Viking has become one of the most respected brands in the upscale consumer durable goods marketplace. In 2006, Fortune Magazine ranked "Viking" among the most sought after brands in the U.S., second only to the Apple iPod.