Sounds good: Phonetic sound patterns in top brand names
- 950 Downloads
Recent research has demonstrated that brand name sounds can influence consumer behavior. Sound symbolism, the link between sound and meaning, can convey product information, enhance affinity, and increase purchase intentions. This study examines sound patterns of Interbrand top 100 brand names, including three previously unexamined sound categories. Results show that top brand names have different sound patterns than general brand names. The pattern of differences suggests that sound symbolism may be one factor contributing to brand performance. Sounds more frequent among top brand names have potentially brand enhancing properties, while sounds less frequent may have the opposite effect. These findings should inform best naming practices and strategies.
KeywordsBrand names Sound symbolism Linguistics Brand performance Phonetics
Many thanks to James Kellaris, Jakki Mohr, and Mary Steffel for their feedback, Jackelyn Torres Van Buren, Kelsey Fanning, and Julie Workman-Hank for their assistance with data analysis, Joel Steckel for his editorial guidance, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
- Allen, C. T., Fournier, S., & Miller, F. (2008). Brands and their meaning makers. In C. Haugtvedt, P. Herr, & F. Kardes (Eds.), Handbook of consumer psychology (pp. 781–822). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Bolinger, D. L. (1950). Rime, assonance, and morpheme analysis. Word, 6, 117–136.Google Scholar
- Davies, M. (2008). The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/. Accessed 24 Mar 2014.
- Erlich, J. (1995). Giving drugs a good name, The New York Times Magazine, September 3, 36–37.Google Scholar
- Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., & Hyams, N. (2010). An introduction to language (9th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
- Hartley, R. F. (1992). Marketing mistakes (5th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Heath, D. & Heath, C. (2011). How to pick the perfect brand name, Fast Company, January 3.Google Scholar
- Hinton, L., Nichols, J., & Ohala, J. (Eds.). (1994). Sound symbolism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hoffman, G. (2008). New car names - how they get 'em, CNN, March 7.Google Scholar
- Interbrand (2011). Methodology. Accessed 20 Oct 2011. http://www.interbrand.com. Accessed 24 Mar 2014.
- Jespersen, O. (1922). Language: its nature, development and origin. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Klink, R. R. (2001). Creating meaningful new brand names: a study of semantics and sound symbolism. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 9(2), 27–34.Google Scholar
- Klink, R. R. & Wu, L. (2013). The role of position, type and combination of sound symbolism imbeds in brand names. Marketing Letters.Google Scholar
- Köhler, W. (1929). Gestalt psychology. New York: Liveright.Google Scholar
- Lewis, P. (ed.). (2009). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. http://www.ethnologue.com. Accessed 24 Mar 2014.
- Plato. (1985). In E. Hamilton & H. Cairns (Eds.), The collected dialogues of plato including the letters. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Schloss, I. (1981). Chickens and pickles. Journal of Advertising Research, 21, 47–49.Google Scholar
- U.S. Patent and Trademark website accessed 4/19/2012. http://www.uspto.gov/dashboards/trademarks/main.dashxml. Accessed 24 Mar 2014.
- Vanden Bergh, B. (1990). The rekurring kase of the special K. Journal of Advertising Research, 30(5), RC9–RC12.Google Scholar
- Vanden Bergh, B., Adler, K., & Oliver, L. (1987). Linguistic distinction among top brand names. Journal of Advertising Research, 27(4), 39–44.Google Scholar