Most branding professionals would recommend that a brand name must pass the “radio test.” This means that someone who hears the name of the company on the radio would know how to spell it in order to find it online or to recommend the brand to someone else who could easily find the website.
Even with the advances of Google and spell check, I think it is very important for a company’s domain name to pass the radio test. A website may never actually advertise on the radio, but there are plenty of reasons for why a domain name should be easy to recall and share with others.
George Kirikos shared some great advice on Domain Boardroom about how you can tell if a domain name passes the “radio test,” and he allowed me to share it with you. Simply take out your iPhone and ask “Siri.” If Siri can locate the website you are seeking, you’re likely in the clear. If Siri can’t find the website or doesn’t understand what you are looking to find, even with the assistance of its AI engine, you might want to rethink your brand and domain name.
If you want to visit Hotels.com, I am sure Siri could easily call up Hotels.com on your browser. If you are looking for websites for Hykso or Rappi (both are Y Combinator startups), you might have a difficult time having Siri find either of these websites. If Siri has a tough time, imagine how other people who hear about these companies might have a tough time locating them if they are unsure of the spelling. Sure, they may find them if they mistype or if they use Google, but it’s an uphill battle when the brand name doesn’t pass the radio test.
I understand that finding a memorable, easy to spell domain name is difficult when the budget is small. However, I believe it is critical that startup founders think about the “radio test” when naming their brands, and asking Siri might be a great start.
Thanks again to George Kirikos for sharing on Domain Boardroom and allowing me to share it with you.