New names for corporations: Naming at the highest corporate level

Total becomes TotalEnergies. Renaming with strategy.

One of the largest oil companies – namely Total – has changed its name. The generic term “oil” – which was still innovative and influential when the French company “Compagnie française des pétroles (CFP)” was founded in 1924 – is certainly no longer desired by the company and may not be appropriate in the future. Because with the new name TotalEnergies, the company wants to transform itself and communicate this to the outside world with the new name – along with the logo in rainbow colours.

The new multi-energy company

With the name change, the transformation into a multi-energy company has reached the highest brand level. The name and visual identity are intended to make the new course immediately recognisable. TotalEnergies Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné explains: “In order to contribute to the sustainable development of the planet in the face of the climate challenge, we are today moving together towards new energies. Energy is reinventing itself and this energy journey is ours. Our goal is to be a key player in the energy transition. That is why Total is transforming itself and changing its name to TotalEnergies”.

A name should be followed by action

But communication is not the end of the story. For example, the company wants to achieve an output of 100 gigawatts of renewable energies by 2030. In addition, the company is showing initiative in the field of electromobility. TotalEnergies wants to install 2,200 more charging points in Amsterdam alone.
Is this greenwashing by naming or a sustainable shift? What is clear is that oil fuels are controversial. Politicians also seem to prefer alternatives. And also the courts – which recently sentenced the oil company Shell, among others, to lower CO2 emissions – make one direction clear: away from oil, towards alternative energies. The important thing for TotalEnergies now is that the change actually takes place and is recognisable.

The name is a statement

“It is precisely the ambition that the new name makes clear,” says brand expert and managing director of the naming agency NAMBOS Markus Lindlar. “After all, the focus is on energy – which is obtained and made available from different resources – not on oil, which currently has a negative connotation. The retention of the well-known and formative component Total is the right thing to do, because Total has a high level of awareness and thus a great brand value. Through the combination with the quickly understandable addition “Energies” and the new logo, the realignment quickly becomes clear and provides a simple communication basis for the change process of the group,” says the professional name finder.

“Keeping the name Total also makes sense for reasons of trademark law and economics,” as NAMBOS trademark lawyer Peter A. Ströll knows, “because the development, testing and enforcement of a completely new name – which might have made the change process even clearer – is costly and always associated with risks. Such a complete detachment from the old name only makes sense if this name – through whatever significant (!) negative or circumstances – is sustainably “burnt” or no longer strategically viable.”

Similar companies, similar strategies

BP took a similar path in this respect a long time ago, albeit in a way that is not so readily recognisable to the outside world. BP used to stand for “British Petroleum”. Due to the merger with the American company Amoco, the adjective “British” was removed from the company name more than 20 years ago. In addition, the company wanted to open up to other energies and position itself more “cleanly”, which is why BP has since stood for “beyond petroleum”. BP also opted for a new logo that is more reminiscent of a sun or sunflower.

The Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has completely changed its name and since 2018 no longer has “oil” in its name. The name change to Equinor is intended to support the company’s “strategy and development as a broad energy company”, as the group announced when it introduced the new group name. Replacing it with a completely new name is, of course, the most radical thing to do, but in doing so it naturally offers a completely new approach.

So the strategy of changing the name – in various guises (from the new derivation at BP, the addition of a new term at TotalEnergies and the use of a completely new name at Equinor) is not new, and TotalEnergie is sending a strong signal with the new name and logo. “Now the company must also follow this signal and act according to its communicative promise. Because that is also important: you have to keep what you promise. Otherwise you damage your brand,” says Markus Lindlar from NAMBOS.

NAMBOS Expert lectures in MarketingClubs

Brands in (post-)crisis times

Expert lectures by NAMBOS managing directors in marketing clubs

NAMBOS naming experts are frequently invited to speak at specialist events on the topics of brand development and review. In March 2023, Managing Director Peter A. Ströll will give a topical lecture entitled “Naming and Branding – Marken in (Nach)-Krisen-Zeiten” at the Marketing Club Dresden.

The last crises have brought many challenges for companies and their brands, but also important lessons. In the past, Corona was primarily a well-known and popular beer, the “Z” was a normal letter and Brexit was more likely to be associated with pretzels or cat food than with a “European divorce”. Today everything is different and will continue to change in the future. The crises have destroyed and changed a lot – but they have also had a positive influence.

What brand traps were there, and what successful solution strategies were implemented? What can be learned from this for the future and implemented so that companies – no matter whether they are small start-ups, solid medium-sized businesses or globally active corporations – experience more security for the future and can implement their goals sustainably? What do you have to consider when a brand is no longer “durable” and needs to be replaced and you need a new name?

In his lectures, Peter A. Ströll presents concrete examples in connection with brand problems that can arise from external and internal crises. However, he also presents the resulting solution options. He also highlights what is important in naming and branding and how to reduce brand risks through searches and diversified brand protection. Because after the crisis is before the crisis!

Are you interested in the lectures and would like more information? Then please contact us!

Naming and Branding – Brands in (post-)crisis times

Marketing Club Dresden (Digital Event)

Friday, 03.03.2023
5:00 p.m.

Peter A. Ströll LL.M. Eur / NAMBOS Managing Director & Lawyer


About the NAMBOS speaker:
Peter A. Ströll LL.M. Eur (1967) studied law at the University of Bremen. Eight years working for Radio Bremen (television) awakened his interest in media law, which is why his practice focuses on trademark, competition and copyright law. He acquired his knowledge in legal activities in Hamburg, San Francisco, Berlin and Cologne, among other places. In 2005, he founded the law firm Dorenz Ströll Rönneper & Partner in Cologne with a focus on brands, entertainment and agencies.

As a member of the management board of the Cologne-based naming agency NAMBOS GmbH, he is responsible for the Research & Legal Department. In addition, he has been creating names and advising international companies on trademark issues for more than twenty years, especially when it comes to the development, review and protection of trademarks.

In addition to his work as a lawyer and name finder, Peter A. Ströll is a sought-after expert at international trademark seminars and trade events. He also gives lectures at marketing clubs and brand forums, organises and conducts in-house naming workshops and passes on his legal experience as an advisor to a start-up campaign. Furthermore, he imparts his knowledge as a guest lecturer to students at various universities and colleges. Numerous of his comments and assessments on brand-relevant topics have appeared in various publications.

New name for group division of Deutsche Bahn

DB Rent will become Deutsche Bahn Connect. This group division does not only takes care of “rental”, but will grow into the future of mobility. The company stands for clever and “connective” mobility and offers holistic mobility solutions. The company links its offerings, which range from intelligent fleet solutions to sharing products which can be combined with the travel services of Deutsche Bahn.

“In the future, it will be more important than ever before to combine a wide range of mobility offers in line with demand. Our promise to customers is: Cleverly networked mobility. This is the origin of our new name: Deutsche Bahn Connect,” says Sylvia Lier, the company’s CEO.

This is also emphasised by Björn Bender: “Soon there will no longer be a demand for individual mobility components, but for mobility as a whole”

Deutsche Bahn is therefore positioning itself much more broadly in this innovative area and would like to transport this wide mobility spectrum in a way that is quickly comprehensible, also in its new brand name. NAMBOS developed many different name options in the course of the naming process. The results have been discussed in intensive naming workshops. NAMBOS also carried out the brand research and language analysis so that the company could start with the necessary brand and trade name security.

New name for Duden

Duden has been the benchmark for dictionary quality and correct language for over 135 years. Recently a new digital service has been launched under the name Duden-Mentor. NAMBOS developed the fitting name for the modern helper.

If you tend to write a lot of texts, you always have to take care of grammar and spelling as well. Of course, in the digital age it is no longer necessary to have the dictionary in print form. Now it is possible to have texts checked grammatically, orthographically and stylistically. If you are unsure about German grammar, the new tool ‘Duden-Mentor’ is a easy and safe helper.

Everybody needs help from time to time and Duden-Mentor offers text correction at the push of a button. Beside saving time, you also gain text security. Texts for school, training, university or even your new job – Duden-Mentor helps everywhere.

“The new name is intended to make the ‘helping competence’ quickly understandable for the target groups.
He is the reliable helper who provides very fast support for texts of any kind. Duden-Mentor represents – due to its slightly academic appearance – a high level of competence and support” says linguist and NAMBOS managing director Markus Lindlar.

New brand name for Cevec

Cevec Pharmaceuticals is the leading provider of high performance cell technology for the production of advanced biotherapeutics.
Cevec has now launched the ELEVECTA® platform, a unique technology for the large-scale production of AAV (adeno-associated viral) vectors.

Now Cevec is the first and only supplier on the market offering a technology for the production of AAV gene therapy vectors based on fully stable producer cell lines.
The proprietary technology has been tested in pilot projects with several partners and is now commercially available to pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

NAMBOS developed in an international naming project the new brand name.
The name was derived from the lexical terms element and vector.

New product name

Nivea introduces new product name “Care”

A new product, a new brand name: Nivea launches a novel cream under the name “Nivea Care”. Hydro-waxes melt on the skin and thus provide long-lasting care without an oily skin feeling. The new cream thus extends the portfolio alongside “Nivea Creme” and “Nivea Soft”. Sebastian Fiebig, head of NAMBOS international, says: “The new name must of course fit into the naming strategy at Nivea. Here, very descriptive names are combined with the Nivea brand”.

The company wanted to involve its employees in the naming process and used the NAMBOS Naming Workshop to do so. Under the guidance of the naming agency, the international participants created and discussed a variety of naming alternatives. In the end Beiersdorf decided to take the name “Nivea Care”.


Names for the digital transformation

We are counting the fourth – now digital – industrial revolution, which is now in full swing. What for a long time remained an abstract term has now found its way into the form of digital transformation across industries – but also in the development of names: The Industry 4.0.

This transformation from analogue to digital also affects one of Germany’s economic pillars, the engineering industry. This new world offers many advantages, for example in the form of digital twins to test innovations for their opportunities and potential risks. Production times are reduced and manufacturing is becoming more efficient and faster overall, while at the same time becoming more flexible and safer. These advantages apply to everyone, both to the industry giants such as Siemens and GE and to the numerous medium-sized companies such as Dürr, Voith, Trumpf or Phoenix Contact.

However, the path from traditional industrial enterprise to industry 4.0 is an elementary process and requires numerous upheavals – both in action and in thinking. New digital platforms offer innovative possibilities for the development of new business fields. These platforms are so important for many companies that they often receive an independent and “different” name. This is often a novelty, as in the past products often only received differentiating type designations. Now, however, these names should also reflect the digital transformation, illustrating innovative power and dynamics. This does not always fit in with the  company name.”Companies that still have the digital transformation ahead of them should therefore think carefully about existing and new brands and seek advice, because new approaches also require innovative thinking and impulses from outside,” recommends Markus Lindlar, Managing Director and linguist from NAMBOS.

Siemens, for example, has introduced the Digital Entreprise Suite. This name describes the product and is therefore immediately accessible to the user. On the other hand, however, it only works in combination with the company group name, it does not work alone. A competitor, GE, has gone a step further by calling its platform Predix. The name is somewhat more abstract, although its generic derivation from the term “predict” is still clearly visible. Moreover, it can be used rather detached from the group name and is emotionally charged.
Independent, self-confident and strong, the digital solution of the manufacturer Dürr presents itself under the abstract-looking name Loxeo. This name development by NAMBOS is artificial and forms its own independent brand, yet it can be derived from terms like “look” or “access”. The Voith company has also given its platform its own name, taking up the theme of the digital data cloud. Its platform name OnCumulus is derived on the one hand from the data cloud, and on the other hand from accumulation, the accumulation (of data).
“It is important,” says NAMBOS creation manager Markus Lindlar, “that the new name reflects the digital transformation of the company and also fits in with the company’s future strategy and orientation. This opportunity to start the disruptive processes should also be made clear in such a new product name.

New company name for infas geodaten

The focus is no longer only on the delivery of high-quality data, but also on comprehensive support and advice for customers. For this reason, the naming agency NAMBOS has developed a new company name that has no restrictions whatsoever with regard to the service portfolio and can be used in the long term. The intended internationalisation of the company was also taken into account.

According to managing director Thomas Brutschin, the new name Nexiga is not only an expression of the new corporate identity, but also symbolises the “next level” of geomarketing competence.

Naming strategy for Schober software

The Schober Information Group has been advised by the naming agency NAMBOS for the market launch of its new software solution product.

Europe’s leading marketing service provider helps customers in the international arena to create and maintain profitable customer relationships by providing and processing data. This know-how is now bundled in various software products and offered to customers for independent market development.

In this context, the question arose as to how the naming of these products should be strategically undertaken.
Schober decided to create a new strong umbrella brand for the software offerings that were “outstanding” from Schober’s previous fields of activity. Based on this customer and product situation, NAMBOS developed the custom-fit strategy solution and, within the framework of the name development on this basis, the internationally usable brand name “capaneo”was created.

Capaneo is a rather abstract designation with high brand potential. Markus Lindlar, head of brand name development at NAMBOS, comments: “It makes perfect sense to rely on very independent names for an umbrella brand concept. Because with umbrella brands, the communication power is bundled, but an independence can also be depicted in the overall portfolio. However, the umbrella brand must not be restrictive with regard to certain topics or technologies, but must be able to combine all current and future product ideas under the respective cluster”.

The name “capaneo” refers to the high performance (capacity) and innovative character (neo) of the products. The individual product names are formed by combining the umbrella brand with a descriptive addition. A sample is available for this addition, according to which a uniform designation is made. For example, there is the “capaneo LeadDriver”, a software for lead management. With the “capaneo DataDriver” the customer has a data management platform for individualised customer approach. “This naming strategy enables the use of very descriptive names, as they can be protected in combination with the brand name ‘capaneo’ and can therefore be monopolised by the company”, says NAMBOS lawyer Peter Ströll.

Trademark registrations in Germany in 2018: popular initial syllables

Around 70,000 new brand names were registered in 2018 and that’s only in Germany. About 50,000 of these were registered. 2% of these new trademarks begin with the syllable “Pro”. This means that these three letters are still the most popular when it comes to having a name protected in the trademark register. Of course, it is also a symbol for the positive and professionality, which is used all too readily when developing a name. In the ranking compiled by the naming agency NAMBOS, the syllable “Con”, which stands for terms such as “Consulting” or “Confidence”, is in second place. Also among the top 5: “Med”. This letter composition represents above all “medicine” and “media”.


Personal syllable creates emotionality

Also very popular are personal syllables such as “You” or “my”, which are used in new brand names to create a personal basis between sender and target group. This is also understandable against the backdrop of advancing technology: “Companies in the mobility sector must take their potential customers with them into the new world so that they accept and use the innovative products,” says Lindlar. This becomes visible in the automotive sector: Volkswagen works with “We”, Mercedes with “Me” and BMW with “My”.


Top 25 most popular initial syllables in Germany (2018)


1.     Pro 1035
2.     Con 789
3.     Com 627
4.     Med 626
5.     Ex 527
6.     You 499
7.     Int 488
8.     my 482
9.     On 464
10.   All 437
11.   Sol 388
12.   Dig 371
13.   Tec 366
14.   Bio 309
15.   Ener 308
16.   Vit 270
17.   Eu 247
18.   Sys 245
19.   Net 202
20.   Dat 187
21.   Glo 147
22.   Top 122
23.   Org 120
24.   Trans 112
25.   Nex 93