Phonetic Symbolism and Brand Name Preference

Phonetic symbolism refers to the notion that the sounds of words convey meaning apart from their semantic connotation, and research in this area has a long history. A number of researchers have shown that certain vowel sounds (e.g., the ih in “mill”) convey certain impressions (e.g., small, fast) whereas other sounds (e.g., the ah in “mall”) convey other impressions (e.g., large, slow; see Sapir 1929). Recent consumer research has sought to apply these notions to the phonetic symbolism of brand names (Klink 2000; Lowrey, Shrum, and Dubitsky 2003; Yorkston and Menon 2004). In two of these studies, researchers have shown that specific vowel sounds convey perceptions related to size, taste, and attractiveness (Klink 2000; Yorkston and Menon 2004). These studies have also shown that names in which phonetic symbolism compliments the product category (e.g., creamy ice cream, Yorkston and Menon 2004; soft shampoo, Klink 2001) are preferred over brand names without such complimentarity.


Tina M. Lowrey and L. J. Shrum (2006) ,"Phonetic Symbolism and Brand Name Preference", in LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, eds. Silvia Gonzalez and David Luna, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 23-23.


Tina M. Lowrey, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
L. J. Shrum, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA


LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1 | 2006

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