What’s in a name?

I hope that one day we’ll look back and say that YO! was always destined to be an international retail brand and that it just happened to be a sushi bar in its first manifestation.

After the name was chosen I found out that “Yo” is the formal greeting between men in Japan, and the logo looks like the character for the word “Japanese” in Hebrew script.

Graham and Mark from 4i, our designers, mocked up the logo first time against a background of a Japanese street scene and it looked great. We showed some Japanese people and wondered why they were looking at us strangely until we found out the picture was of a red light district!

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When I started the sushi delivery service it just had to be called YO! to GO and our first bar which was on the lower floor of YO! Sushi got called YO! Below. Then merchandise for children called Baby YO! and YO! You Kids felt good and the hotel concept YOTEL! and grocery brand YOGANIC! followed. “This works,” I thought, and when the Times newspaper asked me what next, a naughty thought crept into my head.

I described the smoke-extracting ashtrays we have in YO! Below and told the journalist that when marijuana is legalised we’d extract all the smoke into a special room and charge people to go in and call it “YO! to Blow”.

“YO! goes to Pot” was the headline (and they thought I was joking).

Then I’ll sue you for using brothers in Warner Brothers.

Groucho Marx when told that Warner Brothers, who had just released “Casablanca”, objected to the Marx Brothers using the title “A Night in Casablanca”.

You can get to be famous without a great name. But having one helps.

The Beatles wasn’t the greatest name but became the most famous one in pop history.

Hoover became an English language word and it drives James Dyson crazy when people use it about his superior vacuum cleaner.

Virgin was a great name because at the time of its inception, it was very cheeky.