Since the external image of brand identity cannot be made directly, but only indirectly, self-image of the brand is the central starting point for all considerations and activities in the identity-based brand management. Consequently, identity-based brand management is described as a process aimed at linking all terms thereof decisions or action. Despite the representation of successful steps, it is to be noted that this phase of management process cannot be considered independently in making an important decision or choice of brand name or company name.


The key strategic target for the design of all branding and naming measures is the target identity of the brand. It should finally be internalized and perceived as unique by external target groups. According to Esch, the following steps can probably be useful in the determination of the actual situation of the company and the derivation of the target identity:

Analysis of internal and external conditions such as business environment, internal resources, customer needs, trends, or the appearance of one’s own brand as compared to the competition.

Determination of the actual self-image, the internal view of the involvement of senior management and employees of the company.

Determination of the actual external image, the external view using quantitative and qualitative empirical methods. Here it is useful to analyze the image of competing brands, as this information is essential for the positioning of your brand and as a result the development of brand names and company names.

Subsequently, the results of the investigations on the actual self-image and actual external image will be compared by taking into account the determined basic conditions of the company. To identify the differences between self-image and external image, Burmann and Meffert suggest gap analysis, which has its roots in brand controlling. It also provides valuable information for situation analysis and target analysis concerning the degree of accordance of self-image and external image of the brand including brand name and company name. Based on the findings of the gap analysis, the components of the brand identity, which are relevant for the brand’s success, are found; the target identity is defined as a central target issue. It should be noticed that the target identity is to be derived on the basis of the company’s available resources and skills.


While brand strategy is a very analytical task in the creation of the brand name or company name, creativity is the major or central point. So many books on creativity have been written, much of it can also be applied in the context of finding a name. Below follows a small extract of these techniques.


This cognitive technique by a British psychologist Tony Buzan is about visualizing structures of our brain during problem solving. It is the key concepts from which further related terms that serve as the basis for further processing are found. Output concepts come about from the realm of customer needs, activities, desires, dreams, product associated feelings, states, various metaphors (nature, history, habitat, subculture, mythology, ancient, geography, botany, zoology, art and much more) related letter combinations, terminology and objects from the product’s area. These are first collected and then analyzed in terms of how much of it (e.g. syllables) can be used in a brand name or company name.


This is a technique of an English physician, author and business consultant Edward de Bono that can be used to solve complex problems – hence, it can also be used to search for the brand name or company name. The idea here is to break down a confusing matter in 5 dimensions, for example, breaking down a question according to different requirements, such that the 6 stations are successively worked through according to the question, there are no limits to creativity, everything is permitted. The 6th Dimension goes up one level, and brings together the results of the 5 sub-dimensions. Due to compliance and new impulses, problem solution are either selected from intermediate results or it will starts a new round of the six stations of thought, each put symbolically as “hat of thought”

How can one deal with the resulting terms of Mind Mapping and 6-hat technique? One possibility is the concentration technique.


This technique was developed by Bernhard Ulrich and is particularly suited for longer words, as they are usually identified in large quantity in the creative preliminary proceedings. Brand names or company names are desirably brief, concise, and easily noticeable. Interestingly, we associate with a correctly shortened word as well as with the original long version. Another advantage: the resulting word is almost always a completely new creation, it is relatively easy to secure the trademark and domains, if the similarity search was concluded positively. An example is the brand name INVATO, which – you surely guessed – is derived from the word innovation. It is also possible to shorten not only words but also phrases, for example, an appeal, a call or a key explanative phrase, to an artificial word.


It is necessary to generate one of two words. Here the objective is to bring together the key associations of the respective original words to a whole. The suffix produces the desired category, for instance the appearance of a technology company with the suffix TEC or TECH. The trick is to create words that are not too long, are phonetically and semantically consistent, therefore bear no dissonance. In practice, these terms arise from a lengthy creation and selection process; the results must then also follow in all research cycles (trademark, linguistic-cultural research, domain research). An example of this technique is HOTERIO, a hotel interior designer who got the name from us in the year 2010.


At the beginning of the creation process, it has proved useful to define desired or strategically appropriate target languages. Even if the brand name or company name is an ultimately artificial term, a mapping to a certain language family takes place in the sub-consciousness. Examples are the group names NOVARTIS and AVENSIS, which were the results of big fusions of pharmaceutical companies, and produce a clear impression of Latin and aim to bring antique esthete and a piece of eternity into daily business.


Simply put: If the name for a piece of design furniture is meant to sound, for example, like a stylish hotel lobby, one could linguistically immerse into this hotel-lobby world, detect terms and modify them such that finally a new word will be created, which is full of emotions and coherent imagery. This happened for example in 2005, when we renamed an award-winning, multi-functional design panel for ThyssenKrupp to CHYLL, which previously carried the interchangeable name PCS.

There are many other approaches, arising mostly from this specific problem – for example, if a company would like to be ranked at the front in yellow pages, it will search for a name with A. If the company wants the name to sound funny or easy to remember, it might use syllable doubling, like TOMTOM navigation device. In addition, a rare first letter increases the memorability, for example XING. Therefore, in the context of brand strategy, all criteria must be worked out systematically and assessed, then the right path for creation can be found.