After dedicating days or potentially even weeks of brainstorming possible business names and getting rid of each and every possibility, you have finally stumbled upon the perfect business name. Or, at least you think it is “the one,” but how can you be sure that your audience will like it? 

Don’t worry! Through audience testing and this brief guide, you will be able to get the most out of the time and energy you dedicate into selecting a name for your business.

Come Up with a List of Potential Names

This is when it’s time to start getting down to business so you will want to start pulling all of the creative levers in your brain. Don’t worry about censoring yourself and just write down every business name suggestion you can possibly think of. Avoid editing yourself and write down every name you think of whether or not it is a good fit. 

Create a Shortlist

After you have gathered a wide range of names, you can start getting rid of the names that you don’t believe will be a good fit. The goal for this step in the audience testing process is to narrow your options so you have only five or six potential names left remaining on your list.

Get Feedback from Your Target Demographic

Here are some helpful examples of what the questions for your target demographic should look like:

  • Which one of these dating apps are you most interested in learning more about?
  • Which one of these home improvement companies are you most likely to try?

These questions are very effective because they make your target audience pause and slow down so they can think about your brand in a rooted context. You can also try asking questions that are based around some value or benefit propositions of your business. For example:

  • Which one of these names would be the best fit for a groundbreaking payment process app that is focused on millennials and equality?
  • Which of these fountain drink names do you feel most embodies a youthful and fun vibe?

 Another thing to remember when testing members of your target audience is to avoid comparing your new brand to pre-established brands. It is especially important to avoid using major established brands such as Adidas, Lexus, Whole foods, or Amazon, even if you want your brand to be associated with these brands.

Established brands like these already have significant brand recognition, so comparing yourself to them is comparing apples to oranges. You’re unlikely to ever come out on top in audience testing if you put yourself up against competition that’s out of your league. Be honest about who your closest competitors are and start there.

Analyze Your Results

The final step in the audience testing process is to examine your results and decide which name will be the most effective for your business. You might find that the results will surprise you, but maybe they won’t.

Sometimes the name that you thought was “the one,” the name that you fell in love with, will perform awfully with your target audience. As a business owner, it’s your decision to go against the data or align with your observations. These types of reality checks make the audience testing process crucial for those looking to establish brand longevity.

Of course, there isn’t a perfect audience testing method that will give you an exact answer as to whether or not your startup name will be a success. Audience testing adds another layer to your validation process and should be always be taken with a grain of salt. It can help you choose a business name that isn’t going to hurt your brand. With this audience feedback, you will be well on your way to selecting the perfect name for your business!

Grant Polachek
Director of Marketing at

Grant Polachek is the director of marketing at Squadhelp.com, an Inc 500 company and the world’s #1 naming platform. Squadhelp has helped nearly 20,000 customers from the smallest startups across the globe to the largest corporations including Nestle, Philips, Hilton, Pepsi, and AutoNation.