In an era where AI is king, social media is one of the main communication channels and recent years have completely turned consumer behaviours on their head, the way that brands present themselves to customers now holds unprecedented significance.
Modern-day consumers are more discerning, socially conscious and digitally empowered, demanding more now, than ever when it comes to products and services. We now seek more authentic connections and we want to buy from those who share our values. We also expect something original.
To gain deeper insights into the nuanced landscape of brand presentation in the 21st century, we quizzed over 1,000 Brits to uncover their opinions on what makes them buy or not buy from brands as well as what makes a brand memorable to them. We also spoke to Dr Pedro Longart, Course leader, MSc Marketing, Falmouth University who specialises in consumer behaviour, social media and influencer marketing as well as neuromarketing.
Do We Pay Attention to Branding?
To delve deeper into whether, as consumers, we take notice of brand spellings, we asked our survey respondents if they could identify the correct spelling of a popular doughnut brand.
Only 25% of respondents correctly identified the spelling of Krispy Kreme. 3% shared that they had not heard of or know the brand leaving 72% of respondents unable to recall the unique spelling of the widely popular bakery company.
It’s clear to see that even the most popular brands that have been around for as long as 20 years aren’t fully cemented in consumers' minds. 97% of respondents were familiar with the brand but only a quarter were able to identify the correct spelling.
Dr Pedro Longart;
Research has shown that one syllable-words and plural forms are more remindful of the product. That is why it is difficult to remember the spelling of such a long word. Having said that, it was found that plosive words (those starting with p, t, k) are more easily recognised. The brand has two Ks, making the brand more memorable. Another thing that helps recall is that it shows product related information such as “crispy” or “creamy”. The letters “i” and “e” represent vivacity and lightness.
Quirky or Just Questionable Spelling
We asked survey respondents if they think a brand with a unique spelling or pronunciation sticks in their minds more.
Over 75% of people surveyed shared yes, it's more memorable. A middling 19% believe it’s not any more memorable than other brands, 4% shared that it’s less memorable and 1% shared their own opinions.
‘Other ‘ respondents shared that it “sticks in mind if can pronounce it (although the alternative spelling is often a bit irritating). If it's unpronounceable I wouldn't usually remember it.”
“Not for us Dyslexics”, “completely depends on how readable it is” and “yes but problem when spelling for search”.
It’s evident that a unique spelling may be more memorable, but brands that opt for a quirky name may find it difficult to resonate with consumers from an accessibility point of view.
Dr Pedro Longart;
Companies know that the letters “A” and “C” are the easiest letters to pronounce and versatile for brand use. Of the top 200 brands, the letter A appears as the initial letter for brand names in brands that have 2 or more syllables and C is more popular with one-syllable brands.
Brits Prone To Googling Brand Names
It seems that unusual brand names aren’t uncommon these days. Spellings and pronunciations are getting more and more unique, but what does that mean for those of us who may have only heard a brand name in passing?
We asked survey respondents if they have ever found themselves having to Google or check how to spell an unusual brand name correctly. A whopping 82% of respondents shared that they have had to check the spelling of a brand name before.
From Schuh to Tumblr, it seems that vowels are out and consonants are in!
17% shared that they haven’t had to check and 1% responded ‘other’.
Correction! 77% Of Us Have Been Corrected on Pronunciation
Whether you pronounce Nike as in spiky or Nike as in hike, as well as asking respondents if they’ve ever had to Google the spelling of a brand name, we also asked if they have ever been corrected by someone that they have spelt or pronounced a brand name wrong.
Again, a large 77% of respondents shared that they have been corrected at some point with only 23% revealing that they have never been corrected.
We also asked respondents if they’ve ever avoided saying a brand name in a social setting because of the spelling or pronunciation. A shocking 68% of respondents revealed that they have avoided saying a brand name because they were unsure if they could pronounce it correctly.
Nearly a third of respondents shared that they haven’t avoided saying it because they can’t pronounce it.
Dr Pedro Longart;
Cognitive dissonance refers to discomfort felt by people because they hold conflicting beliefs, attitudes or values. In the case of brand names, first, mispronouncing a name can be conflicting with their self-image, particularly if someone pays attention to detail or sees himself or herself as well-informed. Secondly, in the world today people are very careful about cultural sensitivities around inadvertently offending someone when pronouncing a word. Finally, if someone appreciates a brand and is loyal to brands, mispronouncing a brand goes against the values of loyalty towards the brand.
1 in 3 Overlook Brand Spelling and Capitalisation
Aside from spelling, from eBay to IKEA, Yahoo to YouTube, we also asked survey respondents if they have ever noticed whether a brand is written with lowercase, uppercase or mixed-case letters.
Over 60% of respondents shared that not only do they take notice but they also consciously try to spell it using the correct capitalisation.
Almost a third of respondents shared that they have taken notice but don’t care whether they spell it using the correct capitalisation.
Only a small 9% shared that it’s not something that they think about.
Is Spelling Synonymous with Affluence?
We asked survey respondents if they felt that harder-to-pronounce or spell brand names are more synonymous with luxury and high-end brands.
Over three-quarters of respondents believe that harder-to-pronounce or spell brand names are more synonymous with luxury and high-end brands whereas 1 in 5 believe that they are not any more synonymous with luxury and high-end brands.
Dr Pedro Longart;
This is another aspect of cognitive dissonance that psychologists have termed “effort justification”. This theory posits the idea that consumers attribute greater value to an outcome or product when they have invested significant effort or resources to obtain it. Put simply, if someone has put in a significant effort, they are more likely to perceive it as of high quality. In this context, the difficulty to name or to pronounce may be associated with a challenge or with creative thinking, reflecting an intellectual effort.
Brits Reveal What Makes a Brand Most Recognisable and Memorable to Them
We gave our respondents a list of brand elements and asked them to select the ones that they felt make a brand recognisable and memorable to them as a consumer.
Coming in the top spot was a one-word brand name with 38% of respondents selecting it.
A one-word brand is apparently best represented with a mixed case spelling, capturing 33% of votes from respondents.
31% of respondents also went on to rank one identifiable colour as the best choice for a brand as well as a complementary logo made from the brand letters.
This was followed up with 29% of respondents advocating for a unique brand spelling.
Appearance and Personalisation Are Important in the Buying Phase
We asked our respondents if a brand’s appearance is important to them when purchasing or considering purchasing a product.
An outstanding 82% of respondents shared that they believe it’s important and part of their buying experience. Only a small 17% of respondents shared that it doesn’t matter as long as they’re able to purchase what they need.
When asked about whether a personalised experience is important to respondents when purchasing or considering purchasing, 74% shared that personalisation is important to them.
26% on the other hand shared that personalisation isn’t important to them. Respondents even shared that “The feeling that I am communicating with humans is very important but I don't care if you use my name etc or not. Attempts at 'personalisation' often come across as fake. Just be human and treat others as humans too!”
Dr Pedro Longart;
In today's consumer landscape, brands have evolved beyond being mere names for products; they have transformed into multifaceted entities that consumers actively seek to engage with on a deeper level. The concept of brand value co-creation reflects this shift, emphasising that consumers no longer want to be passive purchasers but active participants in the brand experience. A study conducted by Hollebeek, Clark, Hammedi, and Arvola in 2021 explored the idea of co-created brand value, offering valuable insights into this evolving paradigm.
One crucial aspect highlighted by this study is the role of personalisation as an antecedent to value co-creation. Personalisation serves as a foundational element that paves the way for deeper brand engagement and collaboration between consumers and brands. Personalisation, first and foremost, allows brands to customise offerings that align with consumer preferences. Secondly, it establishes a more nuanced and emotional connection that motivates consumers to participate in shaping the brand’s identity. Thirdly, personalisation is correlated with engagement. It actually creates a sense of ownership and empowerment. Finally, personalisation facilitates channels of communication that act as feedback loops, insofar as brands collect suggestions from consumers.
Responsibility Carries Weight on Brit’s Agenda
We also asked our respondents if a brand’s sustainability stance is important to them when purchasing or considering purchasing.
67% of respondents revealed that it is important to them. 17% disclosed that it’s not important to them and 13% shared that they are somewhat mindful.
As well as a sustainability stance, we also wanted to know if a brand being ‘cancelled’ or ‘outed’ for something impacts whether they would purchase or consider purchasing from them (e.g. Shein).
An admirable 50% of respondents shared that they wouldn’t purchase from them or they would stop purchasing from them.
An interesting 30% of respondents shared that it depended on what it was that the brand was cancelled or outed for.
A further 20% shared that they would still continue to purchase or would start purchasing from them regardless.
What do you think makes a brand appealing? Are you less likely to purchase from a brand that doesn’t share your values? Let us know your thoughts on social media by using #instantprintuk!