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A surname brand effect explanation for consumer brand preference and advocacy

Daniel Howard (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA)
Roger Kerin (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 19 August 2013




A lack of empirical evidence currently exists verifying name similarity effects on brand level choice and behavior. This research aims to test for and document the existence of a surname brand preference effect – whether individuals with surnames that match the names of brands prefer them more than other brands and behave in a manner consistent with those preferences.


In two studies consisting of four national surveys, 50 consumer brands across 23 product categories were examined.


Findings reveal that respondents with surnames that match well-known national brands more than doubled their preference rate for that brand. Findings also reveal that for consumers who prefer a brand, surname matching results in them being more than twice as likely to label themselves as brand advocates.


These findings represent the first comprehensive examination of name similarity effects on brand preferences and advocacy. The data support and extend existing theoretical findings regarding an ego-driven interpretation of those effects. Implications for marketing practice and future research are highlighted.



Received 7 January 2013. Revised 7 August 2013. Accepted 7 August 2013.


Howard, D. and Kerin, R. (2013), "A surname brand effect explanation for consumer brand preference and advocacy", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 22 No. 5/6, pp. 362-370.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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