This paper examines to what extent consonants in brand names influence consumers’ perceptions of feminine and masculine brand personality.
Four experiments empirically test the influence of consonants on feminine and masculine brand personality. The experiments involve different sets of new brand names, variations regarding the consonants tested (the stops k and t, the fricatives f and s), as well as different locations of the focal consonant in the brand name.
Consonants influence consumers’ brand perceptions: brand masculinity is enhanced by stops (rather than fricatives), and brand femininity is enhanced by fricatives (rather than stops). Consonants specifically affect feminine and masculine brand personality, but not other brand personality dimensions. Consumers’ responses to brand names and resulting brand gender perceptions (i.e. likelihood to recommend) were moderated by salience of masculinity or femininity as a desirable brand attribute.
This research has implications for brand name selection: consonants are effective in creating a specifically masculine or a feminine brand personality.
This research is the first to specifically link consonants and feminine/masculine brand personality. By specifically examining consonants, this research extends the marketing literature on sound symbolism that is characterized by a focus on vowels effects. This research is also the first to address whether the position of the focal phoneme in the brand name matters.
Guevremont, A. and Grohmann, B. (2015), "Consonants in brand names influence brand gender perceptions", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 49 No. 1/2, pp. 101-122. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-02-2013-0106
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