Connotations in the Look and Sound of Brand Names: The Moderating Role of Perceptual Fluency

23 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010

See all articles by John R. Doyle

John R. Doyle

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Paul A. Bottomley

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Date Written: July 5, 2010

Abstract

We show that typographic symbolism and sound symbolism both have an effect on the perception of brand names. The visual letters in a brand name (typographic symbolism) and the name’s silently ‘spoken’ phonemes (sound symbolism) both contribute approximately equally to the connotative meaning/affective meaning (assessed using Osgood’s dimensions of evaluation, potency, activity) that people attribute to the name. Furthermore, these contributions are moderated by the role of perceptual fluency in processing (a) the visual letters in the name, and (b) the sounds in the name. The contribution of typographic symbolism is enhanced when names are difficult to process visually, e.g. by having unusual letter combinations. Similarly, sound symbolism is enhanced in names that have difficult to process sounds. We discuss our findings with reference to the literature on the visual-sound orientation of East-West languages.

Keywords: typography, sound symbolism, brand name, affective meaning, evaluation, potency, activity, perceptual fluency

JEL Classification: M30, M31, M37, M39

Suggested Citation

Doyle, John and Bottomley, Paul A., Connotations in the Look and Sound of Brand Names: The Moderating Role of Perceptual Fluency (July 5, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1634788 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1634788

John Doyle (Contact Author)

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/carbs/faculty/doylejr/index.html

Paul A. Bottomley

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

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