Why Audience Testing is Such an Important Aspect of the Business Naming Process

crowd in the train station
by Grant Polachek

When you dedicate days or even a month of your precious time as an entrepreneur to brainstorming names for your business, it can be a long process to finding the perfect name.

You will have to go through and cross off every possibility on your list until you finally find the ideal name for your startup.

Well, at least you think it might be the perfect name. But how can you be sure?

If the name for your new business fails to create enough buzz and interest within your target market, all of the time, effort, and resources you dedicated to developing your brand name was for nothing. Our comprehensive guide for coming up with a business name will help you get the most out of the time you put into selecting the perfect name for your business.

Think up a variety of great names


This is when it comes time to start brainstorming names, you should start to pull all of the creative levers in your brain. Get a jump start by writing down each and every business name suggestion you can think up. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s a perfect fit for your company, just keep brainstorming names!

Create a list of top names


After you have come up with a number of different potential names for your business you can get started on getting rid of the ones that you don’t think would be a good fit for your business. The purpose of this step of the naming process is to cut down your options so you have a list of about four or five possible names remaining.

Be sure that you not only consider what you as the entrepreneur think is a good fit, but also the audience that you are trying to appeal to. Not all audiences react the same way to the same name.

Get notes and feedback from your target market


Once you have created a shortlist of names for your business, it is finally time for you to start to bring in outside opinions. You can find your target audience by narrowing down factors such as their gender, age, and location.

When getting feedback from your target demographic make sure that you set the stage of your question to allow them to make a relevant decision on which name they prefer. Give them enough information to allow them to make an informed choice in regard to your specific business. Slow them down so they have to pause to think about your question rooted in the specific context of your brand.

Here are some examples of what your questions should look like:


  • Which one of these mobile gaming apps are you most interested in playing?
  • Which one of these sparkling water brands are you most likely to try?


These questions are strong because they force the target audience to slow down and think about your startup with some helpful context.

You can also try asking questions that are rooted in value or benefit propositions. For example:

  • Which one of these names would be the best fit for a brand-new payment process company focused on millennials and simple usage? (SquareCash)
  • Which of these home goods store names do you feel most embodies authenticity and trust?

Look into your audience testing results


Finally, for the last step, it is time for you to examine your results and make a decision on which name you think will be the most successful for your brand. You might find that perhaps the result will surprise you, but maybe they won’t. We have found in the countless audience name tests we’ve performed for our clients that the name that our client simply loves actually performs poorly with their audience. This type of reality check is exactly what makes the testing process so important for entrepreneurs.

There simply isn’t one singular perfect testing method that will give you a clear answer as to whether or not your business name will be a success with your target demographic. However, audience testing is always helpful because it adds another level to your name validation process. It can help you choose a business name that is not awkward or embarrassing. With audience feedback, you can make an informed choice when determining which name is your strongest option to move forward with.

About the Author: 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, and AutoNation. Get inspired by exploring these cool company names.



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