Evaluating the Impact of Early- and Late-Acquired Phonemes on the Luxury Appeal of Brand Names

24 Pages Posted: 20 May 2018

See all articles by Abhishek Pathak

Abhishek Pathak

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Institute on Asian Consumer Insight

Gemma Calvert

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Institute on Asian Consumer Insight

Carlos Velasco

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2017

Abstract

Research has shown that marketers can enhance consumers’ expectations when a product’s attributes are congruent with its packaging, shape, sensory attributes and sound of the brand name (sound symbolism). In the past decade, a reasonable amount of research has focused on sound symbolic attributes of brand names; however, the literature linking the age of acquisition (AoA) of various phonemes, their usage in brand names and their subsequent perception by consumers is lacking. In the present research, we hypothesized that because humans acquire different phonemes at different ages and consequently some phonemes are used more frequently (vs rarely) in everyday conversations and have more concrete (vs abstract) mental representations than late (vs early)-acquired phonemes, this impacts on the way in which brand names are perceived. Specifically, across three experiments, we demonstrate that brand names created from early-acquired phonemes are more suited to basic brands (i.e., brands which are used in an everyday context), whereas brand names created from late-acquired phonemes are more suited for luxury brands. Our research shows an association between the AoA of phonemes, as captured in brand names, and the brand’s perceived luxurious appeal. We discuss the results in light of the literature on speech sound development and provide practical implications for brand managers and marketers.

Keywords: Sound symbolism, Luxurious brand name, Phonemic age of acquisition, Phonetic symbolism

Suggested Citation

Pathak, Abhishek and Calvert, Gemma and Velasco, Carlos, Evaluating the Impact of Early- and Late-Acquired Phonemes on the Luxury Appeal of Brand Names (May 2017). Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 24, Issue 6, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3181227 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41262-017-0048-2

Abhishek Pathak (Contact Author)

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Institute on Asian Consumer Insight ( email )

S3 B2-A28 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Gemma Calvert

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Institute on Asian Consumer Insight

S3 B2-A28 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore, 639798
Singapore

Carlos Velasco

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Department of Economics ( email )

Calle Madrid 126
Getafe, 28903
Spain
+34-91 6249646 (Phone)
+34-91 6249875 (Fax)

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