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Phonetic Similarity in Brand Name Innovation



    (University of Texas at San Antonio)


    (University of Texas at San Antonio)


When developing a new brand name, similarity of the new brand name to an existing brand name may affect perceptions of the new brand name. However, marketers typically have little guidance on the optimal level of similarity versus originality. Based on linguistic theory, we develop a method to determine this optimal level. In four experiments, we examine the phonetic similarity of a company’s new brand names to the company’s original brand name, implementing a highly controlled methodology based on linguistic rules. When pre-existing attitudes towards a company are positive, an inverted U-shaped pattern is observed in brand name attitudes, such that moderate levels of phonetic similarity are preferred over closer or more distant levels of phonetic similarity. When pre-existing attitudes towards a company are negative, an opposite, U-shaped pattern is observed, such that moderate levels of phonetic similarity are less preferred over closer or more distant levels of phonetic similarity. However, when there are no pre-existing attitudes towards the company, a direct, linear relation between phonetic similarity and attitudes is observed, such that close levels are preferred over moderate levels which, in turn, are preferred over distant levels, consistent with a simple familiarity effect on brand name attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Tina M. Lowrey & Ann Kronrod, "undated". "Phonetic Similarity in Brand Name Innovation," Working Papers 0019, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Handle: RePEc:tsa:wpaper:0019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chaudhuri, Sarbajit, 2007. "Foreign capital, welfare and urban unemployment in the presence of agricultural dualism," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 149-165, March.
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    5. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
    6. Corden, W M & Findlay, Ronald, 1975. "Urban Unemployment, Intersectoral Capital Mobility and Development Policy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 42(165), pages 59-78, February.
    7. Sugata Marjit & Hamid Beladi & Avik Chakrabarti, 2004. "Trade and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 295-303, April.
    8. Chaudhuri, Sarbajit & Yabuuchi, Shigemi, 2007. "Economic liberalization and wage inequality in the presence of labour market imperfection," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 592-603.
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    More about this item


    Brand Names; Linguistics; Attitudes;

    JEL classification:

    • M30 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - General
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing


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