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 2020 there were almost 90,000, 13,5% 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.

Naming Beispiel SANE

Brand naming example: SANE

A certificate that clearly and attractively identifies sustainably produced fashion for consumers.

ASSOCIATIONS

Conscious, ethical, actually normal/not insane, direct, demanding change, social, fair, standard, disruptive.

MEANING

In an insane world of severely underpaid jobs and pollution, a choice for a fair product is actually natural.

TRADEMARK

Despite the short word, the Equality Mark brand is easy to protect.

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Naming at first glance

Overview of frequently asked questions

  • What is a brand name?

    A name given by the maker to a product or range of products, especially a trademark.

  • Why is are brand names important?

    The brand name is the first point of contact with the brand and is an essential component of the brand identity. A memorable, differentiated name contributes to the success of branding.

  • How do I find the right name?

    The brand name should be based on the brand identity and evoke associations with the business model. The name should be short, memorable and internationally applicable.

  • How can I check for myself whether a trademark is protected?

    The first step is an identity search at the relevant trademark directories. Identical brand names can exist simultaneously if the brand classes are different. Similar brand names are harder to find, but none the less are relevant for protect your brand. It is highly recommended to consult a trademark lawyer before applying for a trademark.

  • Can you protect any name?

    Word marks can consist of all letters of the Latin alphabet, numbers and special characters. Descriptive words of common usage (e.g. bread for a bread manufacturer), flags and coats of arms as well as terms contrary to public order or morality cannot be protected.

  • When should you register a trademark?

    The brand name should always be checked before the brand design and the launch of the website in order to avoid that efforts have been made in vain if opposition is raised by other trademark owners.

  • How much does it cost to protect a trademark?

    That depends on how many countries and for how many trademark classes the word mark is to be protected. Germany: from 300.00 €, Union trademark: from 650.00 €, USA from $750.00.

Fisch Gewiss Plakat Restaurant

Brand naming example: FischGewiss

Joint awareness campaign of MSC and ASC to show consumers that they can positively influence the future of fish stocks and the oceans with every purchase decision.

ASSOCIATIONS

Conscious, conscientious, healthy, safe, without doubt, responsible.

MEANING

An artificial word that draws the attention of consumers to the coseuquences of a conscious purchase.

URL

fischgewiss.de

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.

SIDES Naming

Brand naming example: Previer

Joint awareness campaign of MSC and ASC to show consumers that they can positively influence the future of fish stocks and the oceans with every purchase decision.

ASSOCIATIONS & MEANING

The prefix “PRE” enables the association to the core topic prevention and connects it with the nautical term “REVIER” – as a local reference to the port of Hamburg.

TRADEMARK

Registered as a Union trademark

URL

previer.de

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 to find the right name

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.

Pronunciation

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.

Markenname Beispiel Werter

Brand naming example: Werter

Werter develops evidence-based reasoning models for companies in highly regulated industries.

ASSOCIATIONS

discretion, evaluate, examine, German surname, controlling, value-based, data, (high) value

TRADEMARK

Registered trademark in the European Union and USA

URL

werter.com

Naming Don’ts

  • Do not try to address everyone with the name

    The positioning of the brand in the market in a certain area is also reflected in the naming. Trying to find a name that appeals to everyone will result in a name that appeals to no one. Rather, focus on the most important target groups.

  • Do not make brand names descriptive

    If the brand is successful, it is often the first step to expand the product range. With a descriptive name, this is made virtually impossible. In addition, a word that is increasingly used in everyday speech is less memorable as the name of a brand.

  • Do not choose the name too democratically

    For many tasks, working with focus groups can be very productive. When creating branding or naming, they tend to be counterproductive. The name should be chosen because it arouses the right associations, differentiates and can be remembered. Not because it is liked by everyone.

  • Do not limit brand names to .DE or .COM domains

    The number of domain extensions is now over 200, some of which are becoming more and more popular. Do not limit yourself to just two options.

  • Do not follow naming trends

    Names should survive trends. All companies that still have …24 or my… misspellings integrated in the name sound old. Unlike a changing clothing trend, a name change involves a lot of administrative and creative processes.

  • Don’t discard naming designs too quickly

    Every name has advantages and disadvantages. Associations can have varying degrees of relevance; it’s always a matter of weighing things against each other. Try not to discard the name too quickly and give the process enough time. The decision should not be based only on a spontaneous gut feeling.

Brand naming example: entity

entity realizes complex digital business models with high-quality web platforms and applications from scratch.

ASSOCIATIONS

system, development, entity, entity development

MEANING

Entities can be real things or people as well as abstract objects. In computer science, an entity is a uniquely identifiable, single information object.

URL

entity.de

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Reality check of the naming creations

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

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.

 

Product naming example: DCSO

The German Cyber Security Organization is a provider of state of the art security services that are understandable despite their high complexity.

ASSOCIATIONS

Connect, network, become part of something bigger,
defend, improve

MEANING

Act as a call to action to take action along with DCSO.

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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.

Brands that trust us

Two years in a row, Helder’s naming and design perfectly translated the themes of sustainability and responsibility into the ASC & MSC Brand Awareness campaign.

Manuel Maillard
Marketing Manager, MSC

Helder has the ability to capture the essence of the company’s idea and translate it into one word. We have benefited from this for our own brand as well as our clients.

Clemens Reisbeck
HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, WERTER

Helder has developed a name that truly reflects the core of our brand.

Wulf Rowek
CEO, entity

Helder’s product naming reflects the vitality of our services. For our community approach, this is a significant added value.

Nathalie Thomsen
MARKETING MANAGER, DCSO

Our services as naming agency

We compress the brand story into one word: We strategically develop names that lead to the business model – and catch on with the target group.

  • Duration: 1-3 weeks, depending on project scope
  • Briefing: We like to work on the basis of strategic principles, but there are no strict requirements when it comes to naming.
  • Process: The process is iterative and always follows in coordination with our client.
  • Location: we work independent of location and support brands internationally
  • Result: A differentiating brand name that evokes the right associations and meets the requirements for legal registration.
  • Costs: The costs are based on workload, which can vary depending on the project scope. We will be happy to make you a non-binding offer.

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





    Ansprechpartner Helder Design

    Dr. Birgit Joest

    030 403 664 76

    b.joest@helder.design