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If you’re launching a new business or in the process of rebranding, choosing a new brand name will be on your to-do list. This is definitely one of the most fun things you’ll do as a business owner, and can often be the catalyst for the creation of your whole brand.

Unfortunately, it can also be a maddening and drawn out process – a lot of ideas will fall flat, and, to compound matters, many of the best dot com domains are already taken. One of the key challenges your domain name will need to pass is the ‘radio test’. If you haven’t heard of this term, keep reading…

What is the radio test?

When choosing a new brand name, you’ll undoubtedly write down hundreds of words. You might twist some of the words to create new ones, while others might be combined to create new phrases. The problem here – especially if you’re going through this process alone – is that you’ll rarely say the words out loud or hear them spoken. Everything is either on the page or internalised.

The problem here is that you’re not testing your domain for an audio-only audience. If somebody heard your brand name on the radio, would they understand it, and could they successfully type it into a search engine?

Here are some of the major issues the radio test will expose:

• Numbers – If you included the number ‘four’ in your brand name, would people search for ‘four’, ‘4’ or ‘for’? For this reason, we’d advice avoiding numbers or words that have the same meaning as a number.
• Hyphens & Underscores – Include a hyphen or an underscore in your domain and it suddenly becomes a whole lot easier to keep your dream business name. But, when a happy customer is recommending your services, are they really going to say: “I recommend Cars hyphen And hyphen Caravan hyphen Leasing”?
• Getting Creative – While it might be tempting to use acronyms, abbreviations, slang and inventive spellings, avoid this route if you can. Using brand names like ‘C4rs 4 U’ or ‘Business Mgmt Advice’ is only going to confuse people. Remember – if you heard it on the radio, could you spell it correctly?
• Similar Words – If you’re going to pick a word that sounds that same or similar as another but is spelt differently, you’ve already failed the radio test. Words like ‘bass’ and ‘base’, ‘here’ and ‘hear’ or ‘bee’ and ‘be’ should be avoided, which must be annoying for bee keepers! Even words like ‘pin’ and ‘pen’ can confuse.

So, once you’ve tested all your ideas, how many have fallen by the wayside? And how many have come through intact? Hopefully, you’ve still got a few winners to choose from. If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

• Top Tip: If you’re struggling with the radio test, ask Siri. iPhone users can simply say their brand name to Siri and listen to what comes back. Can Siri say your brand name and type it correctly?

We can help you pass the radio test!

If you need help with branding, you’re in the right place. At Bing Digital, we can create a unique look and feel for your business, helping you stand out in even the most crowded industry. For more information, take a look at our brand development services, print design and logo design solutions or get in touch.

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Get in contact with our team to chat about what we can do for your brand today.