Whether they are buying golf balls or considering a dog for adoption from a shelter, consumers prefer names that are easy to pronounce.
A University of Nevada researcher, Reno, says consumers feel more in control of a product when the name is easy to pronounce, but a difficult name can be less of a problem if control of the product isn’t a big problem represents.
James Leonhardt, Associate Professor of Marketing at the university’s College of Business, and Cornelia Pechmann, Professor of Marketing at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, conducted research on difficult-to-pronounce product names. Your paper has just been published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
Her insights into hard-to-pronounce names seem to permeate a wide range of products. For example, study participants were asked to choose a name for a series of golf balls from a list that included two simple names, “Melvern” and “Chatima,” and two hard-to-pronounce names, “Weayaya” and “Machak.” The names of the golf balls were identical.
After practicing with the balls on a putting green, participants preferred those with easy-to-pronounce names and felt they had better control over those golf balls.
The same happened when study participants were asked to choose a name for a dog that would live in an urban setting where control was important. They preferred the easy-to-pronounce “Belland” to the harder-to-pronounce “Baxtiod”. But participants did not have a preference between the two names when asked to choose a name for a dog that would live in a rural setting where control is less important.
Even a real-name test found that consumers looking to exercise control over a product choose one with an easy-to-pronounce name. When Leonhardt and Pechmann gave them a long list of names of winter tires currently on the market, consumers who wanted tires with good control chose the simple names.
“Based on our results, marketers looking for very unique product names for branding purposes or insisting on consistency of product names in different countries with different languages for global marketing should also seriously consider pronounceability of names,” the researchers write.
However, Leonhardt found that names that are difficult to pronounce can be less of a hindrance for companies selling products where control is less important – for example, a mountain bike marketed to experienced riders.