Many of the things that attract or repeal customers are done on an unconscious level. Even though customers may not know why certain names stick in their memories while others disappear, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the science of sound. Linguistics, or the study of language, can provide a plethora of information that can be strategically used while choosing your business name. The study of sound symbolism is particularly interesting.
Sound symbolism suggests that vocal sounds carry meaning in and of themselves. (You can read more details about this concept in our previous article on sound symbolism found here.) Consumers often make judgments and perceptions based on this symbolism, without even knowing it. All words are comprised of phonemes, which are the smallest sound unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinct meaning. The “d” in “day,” for example, is a phoneme, as is the “a” in “cat.” If a brand name is made up of phonemes that represent positive and desirable attributes, a consumer is more likely to think highly of it. The result of that affection is a much greater chance that the customer will remember the name. The ultimate goal of choosing a name is to imprint it into the minds of potential customers. Names that are easily forgotten quickly disappear from the landscape of the industry.
So how can you use sound symbolism to your advantage? Certain vowel and consonant sounds hold different meanings. By understanding those meanings, you can create the result you are looking for. For example, front vowel sounds are often associated with smaller and less. Where the tongue is positioned when a word is pronounced determines whether the sounds are front or back. Front sounds typically represent small, lightness, mildness, or thinness. Back vowel sounds, on the other hand, are associated with things that are larger and slower.
Understanding how sounds are instinctively perceived can help you select a name that has the greatest opportunity for success. Other strategies can also be utilized, such as rhyming or repetition. Human beings are bombarded with words and phrases on a daily basis. Our capacity to permanently store that information is limited. The power of rhyme, however, can be demonstrated in the fact that most of us can remember at least one nursery rhyme we learned as a child. Despite decades of information overload in between then and now, we still remember. Rhyming instinctively aids memory. As we have discussed, creating a name that will be remembered is the ultimate goal of the entire branding process.
Repetition also aids memory. Besides the rhyming element, nursery rhymes are also remembered because of the repetitive nature of their existence. Likewise, brand names that utilize repetition, either in the form of alliteration (repetition of the same letter or sound) or assonance (repetition of the same vowel sound), will be more memorable. Think of brand names like “Kit-Kat”, “Coca-Cola”, or “Krispy Kreme.” Each of these companies utilizes repetition to create a brand name that is attractive and memorable.
Choosing a brand name can be daunting. Fortunately, Brandroot is here to help. Our names are painstakingly chosen based on a variety of linguistic elements, including sound symbolism, rhyming, and repetition. We have done the hard work for you; all you need to do is take advantage of it. Choosing a name that will be remembered by consumers is your first step on the journey to success. Don’t waste another minute.