Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a curious news story about a South Korean conglomerate that takes it’s name from a novel by EGC saint Wolfgang von Goethe. The Lotte Group takes it’s name from Charlotte, a character from The Sorrows of Young Werther. The company’s founder, Shin Kyuk-ho, read the book while studying in Japan and when he founded a chewing gun company, named its signature product after the character — whose rejection leads young Werther to commit suicide! That’s addressing an unpromising consumer base!
Over the years, Kyuk-ho’s corporation has moved in and dominated myriad businesses including instrance, chemical manufacture, construction, hotels and convenience stores, most of them named “Lotte” or “Charlotte.” The novel is pretty much required reading for all the conglomerate’s executives, and in the 24 hotels owned by the company all guest rooms come equipped with a copy of Goethe’s work.