Creating brand personality with brand names

Abstract

As the elemental building block of the brand, the brand name represents a potential starting point for creating brand personality. Drawing on theory and research from sound symbolism, this study investigates how brand names can be formed to create brand personality, as defined by Aaker's (1997) Brand Personality Scale. Results indicate that brand names with back vowels better create a Ruggedness personality, while brand names with front vowels better create Sophistication and Sincerity personalities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The front/back vowel sound distinction refers to the general location of the tongue during pronunciation. Vowel sounds where the highest point of the tongue is in the front of the mouth during pronunciation are considered front vowels (e.g., “bin”). Back vowels, on the other hand, are those vowel sounds produced where the highest point of the tongue is in the back of the mouth (e.g., “bun”).

  2. 2.

    Fricatives and stops differ in their manner of articulation—i.e., the degree to which the oral tract of the mouth is closed off by articulators (teeth, tongue, and lips). Unlike fricatives, stops have complete closure of articulators so that the airstream cannot escape the mouth during pronunciation.

  3. 3.

    Given the within-subjects design, we tested for a brand name order effect, but no significant effect was found.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by a Summer Research Grant from the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University Maryland.

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Correspondence to Richard R. Klink.

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Both authors contributed equally to this work.

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Klink, R.R., Athaide, G.A. Creating brand personality with brand names. Mark Lett 23, 109–117 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-011-9140-7

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Keywords

  • Brand personality
  • Brand names
  • Sound symbolism