Date of Award


Document Type



Management and Marketing

First Advisor

Deepa Pillai, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Denise L. Cloonan Cortez de Andersen, Ph.D.


Brand names can subtly evoke the practical qualities of a product as well as the positive emotions a company hopes that consumers will feel regarding its product. Because a brand name serves as an identifier for consumers to the product itself, effective branding has the potential to increase sales and customer loyalty. Brand names are essential because they are often the consumer’s first exposure to the product and for this reason they must be configured effectively. There is considerable research in this area that can guide companies toward more effective brand-naming strategies. Unfortunately, a key gap exists in this literature: little is known regarding the impact of consumers’ native language and number of languages spoken, along with their degree of fluency, on their perceptions of brand names. This thesis explores how certain linguistic characteristics of brand names affect consumers’ attitudes towards brands and, in the process, links the disciplines of marketing and linguistics. Specifically, this project adds to current research in cross-cultural marketing by studying the effects of sound symbolism through the creation and testing of non-existent brand names. Data were collected through an online questionnaire with 277 respondents. ANOVA and logistic regression models were used to determine significant response patterns amongst the survey participants and predict the brand name choice a person would make based on their demographics. In general, people were able to correctly identify the implied product attribute of brand names in all product categories. The results and implications for business practice are discussed at the conclusion of the thesis.

Included in

Marketing Commons