I agree with Joseph: an objective assessment from a professional will provide the balanced insight you're looking for. You can accomplish that very inexpensively with a Clarity call ... or a couple of calls to different experts.
Here are some of the things we'd want to know (and which you can ask yourselves):
- What does your current name say about your products, your services, your brand? If you think of it as the title of a story, what story does it promise?
- What are the advantages of keeping the name?
- How is the name holding you back?
- Does the name have built-in limitations? For example, is it hard to pronounce? Does it suggest a service offering you no longer wish to be associated with? Have you been faced with a trademark challenge?
I do not advise polling your customers or suppliers. They are apt to prefer the familiar over the new, and if you are contemplating a significant rebrand -- branching into new areas, dropping some key offerings -- you risk tipping your hand.
The best test of a brand name is to talk to an expert. We know what problems to look for. Your acquaintances, well meaning though they are, don't. Meanwhile, online resources aren't human or aren't dealing with your individual case.
A 15-minute conversation with someone who thinks about brand names all day long 365 days per year is your "quick and cheap way to test".
Give me a call. Although I do offer naming as a service, I won't steer you toward a rebrand unless you need one. For many of my Clarity.fm callers, I simply evaluate the names they bring to the table, discussing the pros and cons or giving them a green light if everything's good to go. In terms of rebranding, I can often sketch a broad outline; and you might try filling it in on your own.
I am interested in learning about the reason as to why you are thinking about changing the name. Often the answer lies in your need for that change. Is it product-driven, ego-driven, pronounciation-driven? Whatever lies at the heart of it should be discussed and if necessary the name needs to be realigned with your brand's core purpose of being and your audience's emotional connection to the offering.
Facebook ads and AdWords ads. Run different ads with different brand names, send traffic to dedicated landing pages, and do a side-by-side comparison with conversions. Let the market decide whether your existing brand name or a potential new one resonates.
Feel free to give me a call if you like.
Austin L. Church
Market research is a notoriously ineffective way to choose a brand name - unless you do a detailed, rigorous explanation to your respondents about what the goals, objectives, and criteria are for your name, and unless they have a thorough understanding of your place in your market, and the brand-space already occupied by your competitors, almost all focus group responses will veer toward the descriptive - which is seldom the way to go with a new name. Research respondents, especially in a group setting, are sub-consciously seeking to give the "right" answer. As you say this is your existing name - you already know the strengths and weaknesses of it better than any stranger will. For example, a research respondent may be attracted to a name with a pun or other homonym element - never considering whether the product will be sold a lot by word of mouth or radio, where such a jokey element will surely be an impediment. Especially for naming, the Steve Jobs approach is best - YOU know what they want better than they do. Interior company brainstorms, elections, or contests are even worse - people inside the company are almost always too close to their own piece of the elephant. Naming is best run by autocratic chief executives - using outside professionals to help, of course! No committee or focus group would ever have chosen Apple, Google, or Yahoo from a list of 100 ideas. Hire a creative namer to give you hundreds of ideas, then empower your most visionary exec to make the decision, work up a list with a dozen or two finalists, screen them for availability, then have your visionary make a final choice. Naming is not quantifiable.
To keep things simple, you might want to survey existing clients and contacts. Using a newsletter approach, use an online survey, asking 3-5 simple questions. Happy to access my archives to help you develop the request and questions.
To increase participation, offer an incentive to thank people who take the time to respond.
Keep in mind this is the first step in what might be a long process. Keep it simple and do whatever it takes to avoid paralysis by analysis.