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Name Letter Branding: Valence Transfers When Product Specific Needs Are Active


  • C. Miguel Brendl
  • Amitava Chattopadhyay
  • Brett W. Pelham
  • Mauricio Carvallo


Respondents in five experiments were more likely to choose a brand when the brand name started with letters from their names than when it did not, a choice phenomenon we call "name letter branding." We propose that during a first stage an active need to self-enhance increases the positive valence of name letters themselves and that during stage 2 positive name letter valence transfers to product-specific attributes (e.g., taste of a beverage). Accordingly, when respondents form a brand preference (e.g., of beverages), activating a product-specific need (e.g., need to drink) boosts the influence of this (transferred) valence. (c) 2005 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • C. Miguel Brendl & Amitava Chattopadhyay & Brett W. Pelham & Mauricio Carvallo, 2005. "Name Letter Branding: Valence Transfers When Product Specific Needs Are Active," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 405-415, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:32:y:2005:i:3:p:405-415
    DOI: 10.1086/497552

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    Cited by:

    1. Tina M. Lowrey & Ann Kronrod, 2012. "Phonetic Similarity in Brand Name Innovation," Working Papers 0019, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    2. Fennis, Bob M. & Wiebenga, Jacob H., 2017. "Me, myself, and Ikea: Qualifying generic self-referencing effects in brand judgment," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 69-79.
    3. Kwon, Hyorkjin & Ha, Sejin & Im, Hyunjoo, 2016. "The impact of perceived similarity to other customers on shopping mall satisfaction," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 304-309.
    4. Reed, Americus & Forehand, Mark R. & Puntoni, Stefano & Warlop, Luk, 2012. "Identity-based consumer behavior," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 310-321.
    5. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2733 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Claus, Bart & Geyskens, Kelly & Millet, Kobe & Dewitte, Siegfried, 2012. "The referral backfire effect: The identity-threatening nature of referral failure," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 370-379.
    7. Jesse Chandler & Tiffany M. Griffin & Nicholas Sorensen, 2008. "In the "I" of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 404-410, June.
    8. Knewtson, Heather S. & Sias, Richard W., 2010. "Why Susie owns Starbucks: The name letter effect in security selection," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(12), pages 1324-1327, December.
    9. Kronrod, Ann & Lowrey, Tina M., 2016. "Tastlé-Nestlé, Toogle-Google: The effects of similarity to familiar brand names in brand name innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 1182-1189.
    10. Liu, J., 2008. "Brand and automaticity," Other publications TiSEM dcbcb1b7-2089-429d-bdc1-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. Carnevale, Marina & Luna, David & Lerman, Dawn, 2017. "Brand linguistics: A theory-driven framework for the study of language in branding," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 572-591.

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