Within the practice of brand naming, few areas are as polarizing as researching names with consumers. Some brand owners swear by it. Others simply shrug off the idea and go with their gut.
One thing is true: there’s no right answer for any brand.
However, we believe data-driven research always has its own merits. Here’s how we think about researching and validating brand names, and why it’s worth considering for any brand that requires substantial resources for growth.
A Name is an Investment
Your brand name is one of your most important assets, if not the most important. It’s how people meet and encounter your brand for the first time—anyone’s first interaction with any product or service is through its name.
You want to make a great first impression. And that’s one of the reasons why names are so challenging to create and decide on. It takes time, money, and yes, a little bit of luck. Because in the journey to find a name that ticks all the boxes, the odds are stacked against you.
The English alphabet may only have 26 letters, but there are 171,476 words in the English language. 228,000,000 trademarks have been registered globally since 1980, with over 3 million live registered trademarks in the U.S. alone. And don’t get us started on the issue of online real estate. There are around 250 million registered .com URLs, which means .com availability can be a real thorn in your side.
Those are pretty high stakes. With such an important asset and investment, wouldn’t you want to cover all the bases and go to market with the utmost confidence?
Where Research Fits within Naming & Branding
The role of validation research is to understand how your name will perform in-market with your customer base, getting a read on how your audience will respond to it. This can cover a variety of aspects: understanding perceptions and associations with the name, testing value proposition and overall brand fit, linguistic and cultural checks.
Typically, this is carried out once you’ve whittled down your options to a shortlist of viable names, though it can also be undertaken earlier in the process if you’d like to test assumptions and come up with some rough output.
Which Type of Research Works Best?
Qualitative research can be helpful in providing anecdotal evidence, making it good for exploratory investigation. On the other hand, quantitative research is statistically significant, which means it’s good for gathering and validating large amounts of data.
In our view, the most advantageous methodology is a quantitative approach that measures both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. We all respond to words and names differently; one’s personal likes and dislikes can influence crucial decisions. This methodology is designed to limit subjectivity through creating specific parameters by which to test and validate names.
How Tanj Researches & Validates Names
So how do we turn what could end up being a subjective beauty contest into a statistically relevant, parameter-driven analysis? Our fine-tuned approach combines six different areas of testing: concept favorability, instinctive choice, emotional response, brand values fit, proposition fit, and word associations. This is designed to integrate both implicit and explicit responses, ultimately giving us greater clarity and confidence on name performance.
Our other key difference is timing. Once you have a shortlist of 6 names, we’re ready to hit the ground running. We’ve created a 1-week turnkey solution from survey development, distribution, and data collection to data analysis and delivering the final report. Our goal is to give you a wealth of information and insights, simply and swiftly.
Your brand is your most valuable asset—and the first time customers will see it, hear about it, interact with it is through its name. Go the extra mile to ensure its success. Validation research enables you to go all in on a name with full statistical confidence of market performance. It’s an investment that pays off in spades.
To learn more about our name validation & brand research services, say hello.
César Hernández is a strategy & research director at Tanj. Liz Yap is a strategist & namer at Tanj.