No risk, no Innovation? The effects of the fluency of brand names on consumers' response to innovations. (Fluentbrand)
The creation of brand names has been identified as the centrepiece of introductory marketing programs for innovations as they can enhance brand awareness and/or help create a favourable brand image (Keller et al. 1998, p. 48). Yet, only a few studies have empirically investigated properties of good brand names and most of them have focussed primarily on the factual meaningfulness of names.
Fluency theory suggests that meaningfulness goes beyond the actual content of words. More specifically, Song and Schwarz (2009) found that the linguistic fluency of product names, that is, the ease or difficulty with which product names are pronounced, can affect perceptions of risk. Given that innovations are particularly associated with risk, companies should manage brand names for innovations not only based on the actual meaning of a name. The purpose of this research project is to examine how the fluency of brand names affects consumers responses to innovations and a novel brands positioning. Experiments will investigate the relationship between fluency experiences and their effects on consumers responses to innovative consumer products.
This project will contribute to the literature on the branding-innovation interface. It further extends our knowledge of fluency theory which is topical in marketing research and will allow the researcher to disseminate her research internationally and build up a career as an independent researcher. From a managerial perspective, it clarifies the properties of effective brand names. It therefore generates important knowledge for brand managers and European innovation initiatives that want to equip inventors with the necessary entrepreneurial understanding to be prepared against global competitors.