Essential Guide to Hearing Tests in Brand Names from the World’s Largest Naming Company


Once you get the hang of naming basics, you’re probably wondering what the next step will be. Whether this is your first or your fifth experience of naming a company, you are still learning. After working on over 30,000 naming projects and running thousands of naming tests, I am in a pretty unique position to give naming advice. So what is important in terms of advanced naming strategies?

Well, I always encourage the business owners I work with to bring in outsiders. Of course, naming experts are a great option, as are advanced ones. trade name generators like Squadhelp’s. But on top of all that, you can learn a lot from audience feedback when naming a new startup.

Why is audience feedback important?

It’s easy to be very ‘me, me, me!’ when naming. Of course, what you want and what you answer is important, but ultimately, you are building a brand for an audience, so get feedback from them. The question is, which audience is better to ask for help? It really depends on what you want and who you have access to.

Who should you ask?

There are four groups of people you can sensibly ask about trade names. They all have pros and cons, but of course not everyone can manage access to all groups. If you are looking for an audience to ask questions about a business name, you can search for:

Mentors and peers

Depending on what your new company offers, it could be really helpful to get specialized feedback from people in the industry. This is particularly true if you work in a specialized area, such as biotechnology, neuroscience, robotics, etc.

Problems here include the fact that you are asking people who are not branding experts. Follow their advice on broader naming concepts and engage in a conversation about possible naming ideas. Talking to a specialist rather than a generalist certainly has its positives, but remember what are specialists in. The industry, not naming or branding!

Your team

Often times, you will have a carefully cured team around you before you come up with a brand story, name, etc. You can certainly use your equipment to help you come up with name ideas, and there are real positives to spitting out with the people you work with. Remember, however, that a team will never fully agree on a name. There will be no ‘ah-ha’ moment to find a seemingly perfect name. Your team is a tool and should be included, but don’t try to seek full consensus.

Target audiences

The best people to ask about names may be your target audience. Cool! But how do you find that intended audience? Depending on how specialized your startup is, it can be quite difficult to find a meaningful sample size if you are just asking your target audience for feedback on the name. Make sure you know the audience you go to At this point, you absolutely need to know who you are trying to market to before you get to this naming stage.

General demographics

If you are going to invest in a hearing test, a general demographic test makes the most sense in my opinion. You will need a larger sample size (at least 100) or you risk the results being too general.

A general demographic survey is a good way to find trends and data points, and especially a good way to find out what It is not labor. If a name or concept doesn’t get votes, or seems universally hated, there’s no question that something is wrong!

What not to ask

Once you know who you are asking about business name options, you must decide what to ask. It is surprisingly easy to be wrong. First, let’s see what not to ask, as asking the wrong question derails naming projects.

The most common and worst question is, ‘do you like this name?’

That almost seems counterintuitive. I mean, isn’t that an obvious question? But when you think about it, “I like it” doesn’t mean much here.

It’s just a word when you don’t ask how or why someone likes something. Plus, it’s easy to say yes to appease! In particular, if you ask someone you know, never ask if they like a specific name.

‘Do you like this name?’ It will also provoke everyone’s favorite theories about branding. Everyone thinks they can name a company! They may have named one or two before, but that’s not the same as being an expert. If you showed me your most recent equation, an equation that will change the world, I honestly couldn’t pass judgment on it. If you asked me if I liked it? Well, I guess I would say yes.

What to ask

Being specific is incredibly important. Being specific is the opposite of asking ‘do you like HopHellions for the name of my new brewery?’

My three favorite questions when I ask the public for comment are:

  • Which of these [Add your Value Proposition] Are you more interested in learning more?

For Apple, for example, the value proposition might be “human-centric IT companies.” So ‘which of these’ human-centric computer companies ‘is most interested in learning more?’

Then you would give three to six name options (from your short list of names) and poll as many people as possible on which ones they prefer.

  • Second, ask which of the selected names aligns with your brand’s core values.

A great example of this is a toy company I worked with a few years ago that targeted their products at older children and wanted them to be rebellious, tough, and unique. You can ask about a bunch of names here, narrowing them down with each brand attribute. The questions would be something like, What brand of toys feels the most rebellious?

  • Finally, you can ask a negative question. It may sound like a bad idea, but it’s actually a great safety valve! Asking “do any of these names have negative connotations for you?” it’s a great idea.

The word “class”, for example, used to be harmless or positive. Recently, however, we have noticed that it raises questions. What class are you referring to? Is it a negative view of the class? This is very interesting, and the kind of thing that can only be solved with great audience tests.

After the hearing test

So what comes after the test? What do you do with your new information?

Well, it’s all about the data! Your hearing test information is a tool. But you still have to get back to yourself. There are things you can’t prove: your personal vision, your team’s vision, a brand story that extends far beyond the words of the name. Neither of these quite fit the proof-of-hearing model.

At the end of the day, choosing a name is about discretion, emotional intelligence, and using all the tools available to you. The hearing test is one of those tools, use it wisely.


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