Why Audience Testing is a Crucial Step in the Business Naming Process

Today, an estimated 73% of the U.S. workforce (that’s more than 100 million people) are classified as “knowledge workers”. The rise of the services sector and creative class has profoundly reshaped the U.S. economy. In this piece, Grant Polachek, Director of Marketing with Squadhelp.com, explains how to navigate this new economic world.

After days or maybe even weeks of thinking up and crossing off every name possibility, you have finally found the perfect business name. Or, at least you’ve found it.

When naming your business, you need to think beyond what you as the business owner think of the name. It’s great if you like it, and it’s wonderful if your team likes it too, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if your target customer is interested in your business name.

If your business name does not generate enough talk and interest with your target audience, all of the effort you put into developing your business name would have been in vain. Our proven approach to creating a brand name will help you maximize the time you put into choosing a name for your business and help you find the perfect name that your audience will love.

Brainstorm a bunch of great names

This is when it’s time to get down to business and get creative. Write down every business name suggestion you come up with, even write down names you’re not 100% sure about.

A good name should be easy for your audience to say, spell, and remember. It’s a good idea to do a quick search to make sure a URL is available. This will prevent you from falling in love with the name before discovering that it is already taken or the domain is way out of your budget.

Create a shortlist

After you have collected a wide range of names, you can start crossing the ones you don’t think are a good fit off the list. The goal here in this step is to narrow down your options so you have a list of about five or six possible names.

You should not only consider what you think is a good fit, but also who you are trying to appeal to. For example, millennials may not gravitate towards a classic, preeminent name the way older generations would.

Get feedback from your target demographic

Once you have a solid shortlist written down, it is time to bring in some outside opinions. Find your target your audience based on gender, age, and region. Set the stage of your question to allow people to make a relevant decision. Make sure you slow your target audience down so they pause to think about your question as well as your name in the context of your brand.

The biggest mistake you could make in this feedback process is to ask someone, “Which one of these names do you like?” That’s a vague and esoteric question because your business name could mean nothing out of context. What does it mean to like a name? Do you like how it looks on the page or how it sounds or how it fits a business? Or do you simply like a name because it reminds you of your best childhood friend? Your questions must extend beyond the simple, subjective territory of what people “like.”

Here are some examples of how you should phrase your questions:

  • Which one of these delivery apps are you most interested in learning more about?
  • Which one of these clothing brands are you most likely to try?

These questions are strong because they will force your target audience to slow down and consider your brand in a rooted context of what your business does.

When getting feedback from your audience, avoid comparing your new brand to legacy brands and major established brands such as Nike, Lexus, Merrill, or Amazon. Because these brands are pre-established, they will always win in a poll. You cannot expect a word on a page to be more appealing than a brand that people have had tons of experience with throughout their lifetime. Instead, focus on creating ethos with your own name ideas so you don’t skew your results when testing your audience.

Analyze your results

Look at your result and determine which name will be the most successful for your specific business. Who knows, the result might surprise you, and maybe they won’t. Over and over again, in name tests with our customers, we’ve seen the name that our customer loves perform terribly with their audience. And this is the type of reality check that makes the testing process so crucial.

There is not a perfect testing method that will give you a clear, precise answer as to whether or not your brand name will be a success. However, audience testing can give you another level to your validation process. Testing can help you avoid a cringey or embarrassing business name. With feedback, it will be easier to decide which is your strongest option to move forward with.

Although audience testing is not a failsafe, it is a good way to get out of your head and see how others respond to your name ideas. Even though you can’t control or predict everything, you can get a good idea if your ideas align with your audience. Gathering feedback through audience testing can give peace of mind and help you choose a business name with confidence.

Grant Polachek is the Director of Marketing at Inc 500 company Squadhelp.com, the worlds #1 naming platform, with nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these winning brand name ideas.

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