// ‘Global name whisperer’ Louise Karch reckons the sound your brand name makes can be the difference between ka-ching and kerplunk…
Need a million dollar name for your brand?
Author of Namefluence: Name your business for success and the soon to be released Word Glue: Find Your Million Dollar Brand Name, the naming handbook for professionals, Melbourne-based Louise Karch has made a name for herself helping companies find the best names.
Despite the oddity of the profession, research* has shown that the ‘mouth feel’ and sounds a brand name makes, can affect what people believe.
The phonetics of a brand name can actually influence a consumer’s judgement.
OO not AI
This can be proven with a simple test. Try saying Google.
Notice the position and curvature of your tongue. The ‘oo’ sound requires you to open and round your mouth while placing your tongue back and low.
Google would not have been as successful if it was called Bait. That’s because there is what is called ‘sound hierarchy’.
If you can say a list of odd words out loud, without being committed to an institution, please do so.
Notice the position of your mouth and curvature of your tongue as you say: beat, bit, bet, bait, bat.
Now say: boat, bought, posh, but, put, and boot.
Stanford researchers, Eric Yorkston and Geeta Menon have established that low, back of the mouth vowels like the ‘oo’ in Google or boot are associated with a larger size and therefore exude more power.
Vowels like the ‘ai’ in bait contain front of the mouth vowels. They are associated with smallness.
Their research found that an ice cream named Frosh was deemed creamier, sweeter and richer than one called Frish.
Want to sound intimate? Try ‘La Room’. Want to sound massive? Try ‘Boom Room.’
When you are choosing the name for your brand, keep mouth feel in mind as a brand’s meaning can be managed through its sound.
Prophetic name whisperers like Louise Karch are rare.
She puts her talents to work on Seth Godin’s global coaching team and offers intensive one-on-one naming sessions and master classes for
entrepreneurs and product teams.
Louise argues that careful consideration of brand names can mean the difference between success or failure. As ABBA can testify, it is the ‘name of the game’ that matters.
Stanford researchers Eric Yorkston and Geeta Menon’s study can be found here: https://web.stanford.edu/class/linguist62n/yorkston.pdf