How the Linguistic Characteristics of a Brand Name can Affect its Luxury Appeal

Abhishek Pathak (Lead / Corresponding author), Gemma A. Calvert, Elison A. C. Lim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper investigates how different phonetic structures used in brand names affect their luxurious appeal. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the phonetic structures within luxury brand names are distinct from those of basic brand names and that these distinctions help to maintain the perception of exclusivity associated with luxury brands in consumers' minds. The hypothesis was tested using two studies involving both explicit and implicit methods. The results indicate that luxury and basic brand names differ in their use of distinct phonetic features and that these phonetic characteristics can be formally identified. Furthermore, when the different phonetic patterns associated with luxury and basic brands were used to create novel, hypothetical brand names in each category, respondents were able to successfully classify them as luxury or basic brands, including at an implicit level. In sum, the paper reveals how sound symbolism operates at a phonetic level in the context of brand names and implicitly influences the way in which consumers perceive a brand's apparent premium or basic status.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)567-600
    Number of pages34
    JournalInternational Journal of Market Research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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