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


After devoting weeks of your time and resources and crossing off every possibility, you have finally decided on the perfect brand name. Or, at least you think it could be perfect. How can you be sure if your name will be successful for your particular startup?

When selecting a name for your business, you need to consider your audience will think of the name instead of just your thoughts as the business owner. It is a really good sign if you like the name, and it’s even better if your team likes the name, but in the end the only thing that matters is if your target customer likes your brand name too.

If the name doesn’t create enough talk and buzz with your target customers, all of the time and effort you invested into creating your business name will have been wasted. This ultimate guide for coming up with a business name will help you get the most out of the time you dedicate to selecting a name for your brand.

Audience Testing in Business Naming Process

Business naming process

1. Come up with a bunch of great names

This is the time to start getting your creative juices flowing and to pull all the creative levers in your brain. Simply write down every business name suggestion you can think of.

Don’t worry if you are not yet sure that the name would be a good fit. The only thing that matters during this step is creativity and not the actual value of the times.

If you need help brainstorming names, remember that a solid brand name is simple to pronounce, spell, and remember.

In addition, you should perform a quick search to make sure that there is suitable URL is available for each name. This will help prevent you from falling in love with a name only to discover that it is sadly taken. It will also help you if the domain is way out of your price range.

2. Create a shortlist

After you have brainstormed many different names, you can start crossing the names you don’t think will be a good fit for your brand. The point of this step is to cut down your name options. Keep crossing them off until all you have left is a list of about four or five of your top names.

You should think beyond what names you personally like and consider the audience you are trying to appeal to. Different demographics respond to names differently. For example, millennials may not prefer a classic, distinguished name while previous generations would definitely gravitate towards that type of name.

3. Get feedback from your target demographic

After you created have compiled a shortlist of your top names, you can begin the process of bringing in outside opinions from family, friends or members of your target audience. You can define your target audience based factors like their gender, age, and location.

Before you ask them about your name options, set the stage so that they can make a relevant decision. You want to make sure that your questions are rooted in the specific context of your business.

It’s important to slow your target audience down so they don’t rush to an answer. A good way to do this is to remind them to pause and think about the name options in the context of your brand.

Here are some ways that you could phrase your questions:

  • Which one of these gaming apps are you most interested in?
  • Which one of these sneaker brands would you be most likely to try?

These questions are effective because they make your target audience pause and think your brand name in a rooted context.

You can also ask questions that are rooted in your brand’s value or benefit propositions. For example:

  • Which one of these names would be the best fit for a brand-new investment app company focused on individuals and global usage? (Robinhood)
  • Which of these clothing names do you feel most embodies the most prestige and trust?

4. Analyze your results

Finally, the last step is to analyze your results and decide which name will be the most effective for your brand. You might find that the best name will surprise you, and maybe it won’t.

However, if you end up disappointed with the name that tested best with your audience, don’t worry. The results of the audience testing don’t need to seal the fate of your name.

Audience testing is an important way to get additional perspective on what names may or may not work for your brand. Audience testing is a great tool to prevent you from using a poorly-performing name. Your target audience may pick up on hidden meaning in your favorite name that you might have otherwise missed.

There isn’t a single perfect testing method that will provide you with a exact, clear-cut answer as to whether or not your business name will be a success. However, audience testing adds another level to your name validation process. It can aid during the process so that you choose a business name that is not awkward or embarrassing. With target audience feedback, you can decide which name is your strongest option to go forward with.

Author Bio: 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.