I agree, and sometimes (often?) the names they choose scream cheesy, although they sometimes establish a reputation that gets them by it.
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I think the name is part of the marketing strategy they try to employ, to have a "sibling identification" with in a particular company. But more importantly, to me, is the look. I think when looking at gear I am drawn to the look of the faceplate. Some companies have a real knack for the "cool factor" in design. But in the end, the real acid test is the sound.
I once had a friend of mine who worked in marketing (yeah, those folks actually have friends, oddly enough) say that what a company wants to establish is the brand, not the name. The name, if properly selected, evokes the image the company wants to project -- so, for example, "Audio Research" and "McIntosh Laboratories" both invoke an image of seriousness and sophistication. Bel Canto, on the other hand, invokes an image of beautiful music reproduction (a brave decision for a company pushing Class D amps). Companies named for founders are often implying that the founder has special genius or inspiration (Klipsch, Thiel, Polk, and Marantz all jump to mind). You can even find examples that reflect a tribute by an entrepenuer to a devoted spouse who supported the effort (e.g. Spendor).
At the end of the day, a great name won't save a rotten product -- But it can become an identifier that resonates with the target customer base as a symbol, for good or ill -- hence, a "brand." And as Unsound points out, the cache a brand has developed can be squandered -- and often is, eventually. Sigh. I have my fingers crossed for the recently sold "Audio Research", for example -- will its brand survive being part of a conglomerate? The odds are not good. And Klipsch is, post-Paul, a shadow of its former self. I'm feeling old -- I think I'll go take a drive in my DeSoto.