Nomen est Omen.
What defines a good brand name – and how to find it.


The brand name as first contact point and trigger

Every year tens of thousands of trademarks are registered in Germany. In 2019 there were almost 79,000, 4.6% more than in the previous year. In this vast range, a good brand name is worth gold. The recommendation – word of mouth – is a marketing channel not to be underestimated, which is why the name is often the first brand contact point with which potential customers come into contact. Even before the target group knows anything about a brand, they get an idea just from the name. That’s why it’s important to give the brand a timeless and concise name that triggers a feeling for the brand, that conveys an idea of the business model, arouses curiosity and sticks.

This is the challenge in naming: because, conversely, this means creating a name that is not too generic, not too ciphered, not too trendy and yet not yet in use.

Categories for brand names

The variety of possibilities to develop an adequate brand name is shown by the categorization of existing names. We have clustered some names known in the German-speaking market accordingly.

The naming process at Helder

Defining the brand identity

Branding means focus and differentiation. You have to be aware of this to come up with a strong name. Don’t succumb to the temptation of trying to generate an all-explanatory name out of concern that an aspect of the service catalogue might be overlooked. Generating is meant quite literally here, because then the name is usually – generic. Generic names, however, do not convey an image of the brand and what it is all about; they seem uninspired and interchangeable. The identification of purpose, brand values and target group is therefore an integral part of preparing the naming process. The same applies to brand positioning.

Collect associations with the brand and claim

Once the brand identity has been defined, we use this as a basis for searching for suitable conceptual images that establish a reference to the product, the core service, the promise of the brand. Mind-Mapping is a proven method to arrive at new associations and on this basis to further research synonyms, foreign words or foreign language equivalents.


Experimenting with language

Alienated spellings, foreign language equivalents or new combinations often turn a word into a name with identity. In doing so, we strive for modernity and timelessness instead of trends such as abbreviations, overly artificial fantasy names or deliberately incorrect spellings à la Flickr or Tumblr: Once the trend is over, the name and thus the brand appear old instead of established.

Rules of thumb for naming

Meaning – the power of suggestion

The question: What does the name mean? should always lead to an explanation of the business model In order to create tension and proximity, the brand name should already suggest a faint idea of the core business or brand promise, see Nike. The goddess of victory successfully inherited the original profane name “Blue Ribbon Sports”.

Length – short and crisp

The name should be short and concise so that it sticks and is easy to google. What a difference this makes is shown, for example, by renaming Pete’s Super Submarines to SUBWAY. Short names also make logo design easier.


The brand name should be easy to pronounce so that it is correctly passed on in conversation. Tongue twisters are not recommended, as the renaming of Weightwatchers in WW (Wellness that Works) shows: Neither the abbreviation nor the full name comes easily across non-native speakers.

Sound – the well-tempered naming

Compact, easy to pronounce, abbreviation: it was all there when the US publishing house Tribune Publishing decided in 2016 to call itself “tronc” (Tribune Online Content) from now on and position itself as “a content curation and monetization company focused on creating and distributing premium, verified content across all channels”. The mockery on the net was not long in coming. After two years of meme running the gauntlet, Tribune Publishing returned to its old name.

Internationality – thinking outside the box

When the American restaurant chain Pizza Hut came onto the German market in the 1980s, for example, nobody really understood what pizza had to do with headgear – the logo added to the confusion. It didn’t hurt the “Pizza Hut”, but such things can quickly become embarrassing.

Reality Check of the name creations

Part of the creation is a first desktop check of name ideas regarding critical duplications (same branch / similar product) and first foreign language check, e.g. with e.g.

Individual URL

.com or .de are valuable, but from our point of view no longer decisive for slaughter. There are now a large number of endings, so that the naming no longer needs to be made dependent on available URLs. We include claim or CtA in the URL in this way when it is appropriate.


Legal identity and similarity assessment

We have the chosen name checked by a law firm for trademark and patent law for both identical and similar trademark applications in the relevant markets and industries in order to avoid possible conflicts with market participants. The trademark can then be registered and we continue the branding process by developing the logo and brand design.

We search and find the right name

We compress the brand story into one word: We strategically develop names that lead to the business model – and get caught up in the target group.

Naming your brand?
We’ll find the right name.

Ansprechpartner Helder Design

Dr. Birgit Joest


030 403 664 76