The last time you made a purchase, do you recall if it was a product with a feminine or masculine brand name? Studies show that it was most likely a feminine name.
Of course, it will depend on the purchase context. But a female brand name increases perceived warmth, which is a quality both women and men prioritize when making purchases (Journal of Marketing).
Let’s explore this idea a little further. Leverage psychology and research to increase sales for your next product launch or service.
How Do You Determine a Feminine or Masculine Sounding Word or Brand Name?
This is the scientific and incredibly interesting part, especially for any data and marketing professionals. If I haven’t captured your attention yet consider this:
On average, in the past two decades, the brands that have ranked the highest on Interbrand’s Global Top Brands had linguistically more feminine names.
By tapping into psychology with your marketing communications, your no longer chasing trends. But rather playing to the consistency of human habits and tendencies that are hardwired into our brains. Psychology and marketing are better together. 🧠⚡💻
In a nutshell, the longer a word is, the number of vowels, stress, the way it sounds, can subtly trigger a male or female association in the human mind.
The art of brand naming runs deep, and there are people who dedicate their entire careers to this specific research and work. Just like we must consider the emotions and knee-jerk reactions colors convey and provoke in logo design and advertising, it’s arguably just as important to consider what sounds your brand name conveys.
What’s in a Name? Brand Naming and Product Labeling Linguistics 101
Here we will dissect the differences between masculine and feminine sounds and what that means for your brand.
This topic has been researched, studied, and published at length in scientific and academic journals.
For example, ask yourself, would you prefer to buy ice cream called “Frish” or “Frosh”?
According to a study, the “ah” sound conveys creaminess and is more desirable (Yorkston and Menon 2004). This same principle can be applied to conveying a brand’s gender. Here are some general guidelines that revolve around name length, sounds, and stress.
- Front vowels, such as “tea” and “tell” convey a sense of femininity.
- Female names are longer on average with more syllables.
- Female names more often end with a vowel sound.
- More likely to stress or emphasize the second or third syllable.
- Back vowels, such as “tool” and “tusk” psychologically relate to masculinity.
- Male names are more likely to end with a consonant.
- More stress on single and first-syllables.
If it’s not clear whether a brand name or word has a masculine or feminine connotation. Then, you have to look towards the above factors. The length, sound, and stress to understand how a brand can convey a female association.
One of the most fascinating aspects of these studies is that feminine names were more appealing to both men AND women.
The results consistently show that brands with a feminine name convey a sense of warmth, and have an advantage with male users, including utilitarian products.
So, despite your gender, you are most likely going to lean towards female-sounding brand names and product lines when making a purchase.
“We find that linguistically feminine brand names are perceived as warmer and are therefore better liked and more frequently chosen, an effect we term the Feminine Brand Name Advantage.”– Ruth Pogacar, study co-author and assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.
I said it gets pretty deep right? The female or male-sounding brand name is just the tip of the iceberg! Beyond sounds, research suggests that phonological and morphological differences play a critical role in brand perception and consumer purchasing behaviors.
Phono and morpho-what? The structure of the words, in any language, affects our perception of whatever the words are describing or identifying.
How the Consumer Product Goods Industry can Leverage the Feminine Brand Advantage
Knowing that touch of femininity can enhance sales by conveying a sense of warmth, which is scientifically proven to influence a positive reaction in consumers, i.e.,: sales, is half the battle. How can your company leverage this information? Especially if you already have a strong brand foundation and rebranding is not an option?
Consider your next product launch or line. Use the power of psychology to increase sales by simply using specific phonetics. The result is more awareness, loyalty, and income for your brand!
Not sure how to approach branding or choosing product names with the female advantage in mind? I can help guide your brand to appeal to more female AND male consumers. Contact me today and let’s grow your business with a Female Forward strategy.