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How to test prospective radio station names

Today I was asked how to go about testing a name for a new radio station.

I’ll share part of my answer with you here (the rest requires a contract and a check).

It’s not uncommon to run a few names by prospective listeners in mall-intercepts or focus groups. This can be beneficial – or deadly. And sometimes both.

Here’s why:

You should never ask people how much they like a particular name or whether or not they would listen to a station called that name.

How do they know what they’re going to do before such a station even exists? They can’t visualize your marketing execution. And they’re not qualified to judge the quality of your prospective names. They are not marketing experts, after all.

Here’s what they CAN do: They can give you their reactions – and you need to interpret them properly.

Gauge their reactions to issues like this:

1. Is the name confusing? (bad) 2. Does it sound special? (good) 3. Is it a common name? (bad) 4. Is it an unusual name? (good) 5. Is it a name, not a description? (good) 6. Is it odd? (good) 7. Does it appeal to their senses? (good) …and a few more

Selecting a station name is not the same as winning a popularity contest. This is marketing, not a student body president election.

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