Marketing Letters

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 549–563 | Cite as

Sounds good: Phonetic sound patterns in top brand names

  • Ruth PogacarEmail author
  • Emily Plant
  • Laura Felton Rosulek
  • Michal Kouril


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.


Brand 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Pogacar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily Plant
    • 2
  • Laura Felton Rosulek
    • 3
  • Michal Kouril
    • 4
  1. 1.Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management and MarketingUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  3. 3.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of MontanaMissoulaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biomedical InformaticsCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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