By Owen Fay . Posted on September 1, 2022

You are a product manager tasked with naming your organization’s next big product, you’ve developed 20 names, but half of them didn’t pass trademark clearance, a few of them insult different cultures, and the other 8 don’t get the reaction you were hoping for from your boss. Meanwhile, the CEO came up with a brand name She likes, but it’s not appealing to the rest of the team. You find yourself running a focus group, fifty thousand dollars later, the CEO’s choice does terribly, and the ‘winner’ is chosen by just one vote, simply because it isn’t risky or offensive. No one feels confident in the results, but the product is launching in two months, and there’s no plan B.

This situation is more common than you might think. A lot of the time businesses will choose their brand name internally or based on bias and run an expensive focus group to just confirm the executive team’s opinions.

With the high cost of these focus groups, brand name testing is usually wedged between concept tests and ad tests. This process is common but the results for the brand name are virtually worthless.

A brand name serves as your calling card and should communicate the value your product or brand gives users. In this article, we will cover the importance of a brand name, testing them, and how not to test brand names.

The Purpose of a Brand Name Test

A brand name is extremely important to recognition and brand reputation, it’s vital that the one you land on is recognizable, engaging, and powerful. The purpose of a brand name is to differentiate yourself from the competition, elevate the brand, and provide flexibility for the organization.

Name testing shouldn’t be used to find the “winning” name but should educate your decision when creating or choosing the brand name. While test participants will give you valuable information you shouldn’t blindly take their advice.

Instead of asking the respondents which brand name they like best in a ‘beauty contest’, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a brand name and how it aligns with your marketing strategy is a much better way to identify the best fit.  It will create more meaningful results that the organization can use to validate decisions or identify a brand name that works.

In a brand name test that asks for user preferences, one may convey quality or be easy to say but it says nothing about value. Another might communicate value, innovation, value, and get the most votes from participants. But this doesn’t always mean the second name is better.

Companies need to understand how well each name performs, how different messaging, logos, and positioning can be used with the brand name to amplify the value and reduce shortcomings.

Some of the questions that any and every organization should consider in a brand name test include:

  • Does the name differentiate the brand?
  • Is it memorable? Does it elevate the brand by communicating value and the brand story?
  • Will it lead to user consideration?
  • Is the name flexible?

By conducting brand name research that is based on trackable metrics, valuable feedback, and real data, companies can identify which names stand out from the competition while elevating brand reputation.

Don’t Focus on “preferences” or “Likability”

Asking respondents if they like a name can be misleading, studies have shown that people have an instinctual aversion to new or surprising, or unpredictable things. They tend to contradict our preconceived views and push users away.

Innovative names like Virgin (airline) or Yahoo! (search engine) often rank low in naming research. If you do what most companies do and test based on user preferences or likability, you’ll get a boring name that doesn’t offend anyone and no one hates – but no one really loves either.

Additionally, these simple, predictable brand names fail to differentiate your brand. Instead of testing for user preferences, focus on the value your brand name creates. Does it make your brand or product stand out? Is it creating get the desired reaction? Does it fit with your brand value and strategy?

Why “Fit” Doesn’t Matter

People often confuse value with “Fit”, testing to understand if a brand name “fits” is a common mistake in brand name testing. For example, if you are naming a new truck brand you want to communicate power and dependability. Does the name sound like a great truck, or does it fail to convey the value the product gives users?

The issue with testing for fit is that “fitting in” is the opposite of differentiating yourself, which is exactly what you want to do with your brand.

While a truck brand should sound powerful and dependable, you don’t want it to sound like all of the other truck brands you’re competing with. There are over a million brand names registered each year, this is a massive number of products, businesses, and even more advertising, you are competing with almost all of them for consumers’ attention.

A great brand name needs to break through the noise to be noticed and eventually considered by the target audience. “Fitting” into the market means running the risk of being confused for the competition or worse, not being noticed at all.

The Importance of Pronunciation and Sound

Another major part of your brand name is how it sounds and reads. If users can’t spell the name let alone pronounce it, how can you expect them to remember the product when they make a purchase decision?

The way a brand name is pronounced doesn’t guarantee the success of the brand, but it helps with recognition and should be something you consider. Equally as important is how the name sounds and what that sound implies about the organization.

Marketers and product managers should want the brand name to reflect the value they are trying to communicate with the product.

Consider the value and power of different letters, words, and letter combinations. Different placements, pronunciations of words, and combinations communicate different things. Letter sounds can have a big impact on human perception and user opinions of the brand.

Time and Money Well Spent

While it’s common practice to conduct a focus group to identify the best brand name, it can take weeks of planning, hours of discussion, and even longer to analyze the results. Not to mention the thousands of dollars you will have to spend. Brand name test is important, but they shouldn’t take weeks or cost thousands.

With the emergence of effective remote and unmoderated usability testing, a brand name can be decided on in just a few hours, after getting feedback from hundreds of users. Poll the People brand name testing is lightning-fast, provides valuable user insights, and takes only minutes to analyze results.

Introducing your target audience to a few brand name possibilities and asking for feedback on the value, effectiveness, or differentiation will help you find the brand name that works for your business.

Using quantitative and qualitative data, you can make a rational decision when selecting a brand name. Brand name testing with Poll the People allows you to make data-backed decisions, with real data and feedback from real people the test will reveal the name that creates the most value and consideration.

You will gain a better understanding of the target audience with the option to segment the respondents to see how different groups engage with the brand names.

Testing with Poll the People takes less than 60 minutes, allowing any business to iterate their test quickly. This allows you to test any and every brand name you are considering. Testing and retesting different options will help you find the best fit.

Lastly, you will save time and money by testing with our platform, with responses costing about $1 you can gather feedback from hundreds of users in less than one hour.


A brand name serves as your calling card and should communicate the value your product or brand gives users. A brand name test is the best way to identify the most impactful and engaging name for your product, brand, or service.

Companies are now able to confidently come up with new brand names thanks to Poll the people’s cutting-edge platform and testing solutions. Even with all of its advantages, naming a brand successfully is difficult to do. With the help of our list of potential issues with brand name testing and the emphasis on the importance of the right brand name, you can launch your new resources with confidence.

Take a look at the rest of our website if you’re new to testing to learn more about the advantages, features, use cases, and other valuable ways to optimize your business. Poll the People offers user research faster and for less, you can optimize your brand name in under an hour with the help of our user panel and curated testing template. If you’re ready to start making better brand decisions head over to our app and sign up for a free account today!

Owen Fay

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