Connotations in the Look and Sound of Brand Names: The Moderating Role of Perceptual Fluency
23 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 5, 2010
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: Suggested Citation