What sound does your name make?

public-speaking-picSounds whether made by a lion or a mouse, a person speaking Swahili or Spanish, all have intrinsic meaning.

Here are a few linguistic tidbits that in our experience have proven to be important in the creation and selection of names for brands. These are not hard and fast rules, by any means. A brand can transcend these theories by its implied meaning, such as the originally friendly sounding and now iconic Apple.

The sound of a brand name can make a world of difference in how a brand is perceived – how successful it will be. If you take connotations and associations out of the equation all you are left with is the sound of the name.

In a study of 200 top brands it was found that companies with brand names containing what we call plosives were historically more successful. A plosive is a consonant sound that causes you to build up air pressure in your mouth and forcefully pronounce the sound. Many world languages actually use the same plosive sounds [p], [t], [k], [n], and [m].

Plosives make a noticeable noise and cut through the cacophony of everyday language. Think best global brands: Coca-Cola, IBM, Nokia, Microsoft, and Toyota etc.

As for product brand names Prozac is a good example, not only because our team members were involved in creating it, but also because it’s the kind of word that has a plosive to start; then, with the [z -zzzz-] with a build up in force for the final plosive [ac]! It has been a hugely successful product brand name for our former client Eli Lilly and Co.

gkNaming® holds a unique position in the branding market offering full creative and naming capabilities including: in-depth trademark research, linguistic analysis, global testing and competitive market research.

Vásken Kalayjian
gkBRAND Inc.

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