اثرات نمادین صدا در سراسر زبان ها : مفاهیمی برای نامهای تجاری (برندها) جهانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1984||2012||5 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Research in Marketing, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages 275–279
Selecting good brand names for products is a critical step for marketers, and many aspects of a brand name influence brand perceptions. Three experiments investigated the effects of phonetic symbolism (the impact of sound on meaning) on brand name preference, the extent to which these effects generalize to other languages, and the processes that underlie these effects. When choosing brand names, French-, Spanish-, and Chinese-speaking participants who were bilingual in English preferred words in which there was a match between the phonetic symbolism of the words and the product attributes. These results were unaffected by whether participants completed the study in their first or second language, by second-language proficiency, or by whether the Chinese language representations were in logographic or alphabetic form. These findings replicate those of Lowrey and Shrum (2007) and indicate that phonetic symbolism effects for brand name perceptions can generalize across languages, and thus suggest that marketers may be able to embed universal meaning in their brand names.
Selecting good brand names for products is a critical step for marketers. Good brand names can enhance memorability, create favorable images, and increase preference for products, and they are an important component in building brand equity (Aaker, 1996). Poor brand names can of course have the opposite effect, with the Ford Edsel as a case-in-point: The pervasive dislike for the brand name has been implicated as a major reason for the failure of the brand (Klink, 2000). It is thus no surprise that the construction and testing of brand names is itself a big business (Kohli & LaBahn, 1997). The brand naming process is made more difficult by the globalization of markets. Fortunately, commonalities between languages sometimes make it possible to derive benefits from the same brand name in multiple markets. For example, the L'Oreal brand Hydrovive has a similar meaning in French and English because the two languages share the letter combinations of the morphemes hydro and vive, as well as their respective meanings — moisture and life (Lerman, 2007). However, in many cases, desirable brand names in one market may be detrimental in another. Brand name challenges are magnified further when Western brands are introduced into a market like China, where the language is based on an entirely different writing system. Consider, for example, the Hydrovive brand in China. The combination of sounds does not map onto the same meanings, or perhaps any meaning, as they do in English and French. In such cases, the marketer must make a choice (Zhang & Schmitt, 2001). One option is to translate the name into Chinese, thus abandoning the sound, to find a name with a similar meaning. The other option is phonetic translation or transliteration, abandoning the meaning to maintain the sound. A third (but more difficult) option is to translate phonosemantically; that is, to translate sound with meaning (Dong & Helms, 2001). Thus, most firms must choose between maintaining the phonetic brand sound and preserving the meaning of the brand name (Francis, Lam, & Walls, 2002; for a review, see Zhang & Schmitt, 2007). In the examples mentioned, the phonetic qualities pertain to preserving the sound of the name across translations. However, what if the actual sound of the name itself conveys meaning? Moreover, what if the extent of this effect differs across languages? If so, these effects have important implications for considering the sound of the word when constructing new brand names, as well as for the translation strategies that might be adopted. In this study, we investigate this concept and its implications for brand name construction. Numerous studies in psycholinguistics suggest that sounds convey meaning apart from their semantic connotations, a concept referred to as phonetic symbolism or sound symbolism (for a review, see French, 1977). Recent research in marketing has demonstrated that phonetic symbolism has implications for brand name perceptions and preferences (for a review, see Shrum & Lowrey, 2007). However, the extent to which these findings generalize to other languages and writing systems has not been sufficiently addressed, which is clearly crucial for applying previous findings to international brand naming contexts. To address this issue, we report a study that is a replication of previous work (Lowrey & Shrum, 2007), but one whose context is relevant to global brand name construction. Specifically, we investigate the effects of phonetic symbolism across multiple languages, including one with a non-alphabetic writing system (Chinese logographic). Our study uses a bilingual context by testing whether the effects also occur in a consumer's second language and tests whether the effects vary by second-language proficiency. The international context of the investigation allows us to generalize brand name construction recommendations to global marketing and advertising situations.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Inputs into brand name perceptions are numerous and complex, and a number of factors may influence consumers' preferences for one brand name over another. In the studies presented here, we showed that the sound of a name, through its phonetic symbolism, is one factor that influences brand name preference. Across three experiments, we showed that preference for a particular brand name over another can be influenced not only by the fit between the name's phonetic symbolism and the attributes of the product, but in fact the preference as a function of this fit can be reversed. Moreover, we showed that this effect is remarkably stable. We demonstrated the effect in four different languages — English, French, Spanish, and Chinese — and for both alphabetic and logographic language formats in Chinese. We also showed that these effects hold equally for one's own language and for bilinguals in a second language. For the bilingual conditions, we also showed that this effect does not appear to be affected by language proficiency. These results add to the growing literature on marketing applications of phonetic symbolism effects. They also provide a theoretical contribution, particularly with respect to the processing of logographic versus alphabetic scripts. The findings suggest that phonetic information is encoded from brands when they are written in logographic scripts, affecting perceptions of those brands, at least when semantic information is minimized by using artificial logographs that are the equivalent of non-words (pseudologographs). Moreover, these findings appear to be relatively automatic (Yorkston & Menon, 2004). Although the effectiveness of any phonetic manipulation may depend on the extent to which naming strategies (phonetic, semantic, and phonosemantic) prime a phonetic versus semantic emphasis (Zhang and Schmitt, 2001 and Zhang and Schmitt, 2007), our results suggest that phonetics do play a role. 4.1. Managerial implications Our research has implications for managers looking to introduce their brands into foreign markets. The general findings from previous research on the marketing applications of phonetic symbolism suggest that sound does convey meaning, and thus represents one more controllable input for developing good brand names. However, previous research has been constrained predominantly by Western, English-speaking contexts, which makes the generalizability of the managerial implications and applications problematic. Our research shows that the managerial implications can be extended to other languages in a bilingual context. This is good news for managers debating branding strategies for extending their well-established brand names into foreign markets. Our research suggests that qualities implied from the sound of the brand name will generalize. Our findings are also good news for managers who are constructing new brand names. They can feel more confident in employing a strategy that uses the same brand name in multiple markets. Although our findings have some specific implications for brand name development based on the front/back vowel sound distinction we tested, we want to stress some limitations as well. Our findings imply that one might be well-served to use front vowel sounds for smaller automobiles and back vowel sounds for larger ones. Although some common examples of real brand names consistent with this logic easily come to mind (e.g., Hummer, Tundra (Toyota) for large, powerful vehicles; Prius (Toyota), Twingo (Renault) for small, light vehicles), exceptions are also easily generated (e.g., Ford Focus for a small car, Chevrolet Equinox for a large SUV). Three important points are worth noting. First, our focus on the front/back vowel sound distinction was primarily to test a theoretical proposition: Does the sound of a brand name influence perceptions and preferences that are generalizable across languages for bilinguals? The decision to use only the front/back vowel sound distinction and hold all other sounds constant was a methodological choice to maximize construct validity. For real brand names, however, the situation is much more complex. The front/back distinction refers to vowel sounds, but there are a number of consonant sounds that have been shown to influence perceptions as well. Examples include fricatives versus stops, and voiceless versus voiced consonants. Moreover, not only are these two sets of categorizations orthogonal (and thus one can have voiced and voiceless fricatives), but some categorizations also have additional dimensions (e.g., occlusive vs. nasal stops). All of these categorizations have been shown to influence perceptions through their sound symbolism (Shrum & Lowrey, 2007). Thus, the main recommendation that emerges from phonetic symbolism research for brand name creation is that marketers should attempt to maximize the sound-attribute fit. Such fit must be calibrated based on a detailed knowledge of how the sounds of brand names map onto their respective meanings across multiple dimensions. Our point is that knowledge of phonetic symbolism effects would be useful in the brand naming process, both by enhancing sound associations and avoiding bad ones. The second point we want to stress is that there is much more to a word than just its sound. In fact, sound often plays a very minor role in relation to semantics in constructing brand names. This is evident in the counterexamples we mentioned for naming vehicles. Although the Focus and the Equinox may violate the front/back vowel sound guideline, the names clearly have a meaning, and it is reasonable to assume that semantic connotations will often overwhelm sound connotations. However, when considering two equally attractive brand names that convey meaning through their semantic associations, sound symbolism may provide an added value. The third point we want to make concerns whether we should expect to see evidence of sound symbolism across brand names for a particular product category, such as the automobile category we chose for our stimuli. The answer depends on a number of variables. One is whether particular product categories tend toward the use of semantics in constructing brand names. In such cases, one might expect to see evidence of the effect only in instances in which the names are fictitious. Although most product categories may rely more heavily on semantics than phonetics, there are also well-known brand names that are made up (Kodak, Exxon). That said, there are some product categories that may tend to use fictitious names, particularly those likely to use numeric or alphanumeric brand names (Pavia & Costa, 1993). One particular product category that tends, almost entirely, to use fictitious brand names is medication trade names (e.g., Avistin and Taxol, both cancer medications); in fact, there is evidence that phonetic symbolism may be related to the development of brand names in that category. Abel and Glinert (2008) coded the trade names of 60 frequently used cancer medications in terms of the frequency in which they had voiced or voiceless consonants. They reasoned that because voiceless consonants are associated with concepts such as smaller, lighter, and faster (Klink, 2000 and Newman, 1933), medication trade names with voiceless consonants might be associated with more tolerable chemotherapy and would thus be more likely to be used in trade names than voiced consonants. Abel and Glinert (2008) found that this was indeed the case: Voiceless consonants were used in cancer medication brand names more often than would be predicted by their base rate in the English language. In conclusion, the results of this study support the findings of previous studies that showed that phonetic symbolism influences brand name perceptions and that brand name preference can be enhanced when the fit between the concepts associated with the sound of the brand name and the attributes of the product are maximized. In addition, the results extend previous findings by showing that they generalize to other languages in both alphabetic and logographic writing systems, have similar effects for bilinguals in both their first and second languages, and hold regardless of language proficiency. Thus, an understanding of phonetic symbolism effects represents an additional tool for brand managers when constructing brand names, including names for international brands.