Product and Brand Name Linguistics and Logo Semiotics

by: Michael Metzger

Publication Date: October 3, 2022
Length: 24 pages
Product ID#: 1-139-678

Core Disciplines: Communications, Marketing/Sales

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Teaching Note

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This conceptual note summarizes the basic concepts underlying the emerging field of brand linguistics, as well as the practical decisions needed to design a product or brand name. Developing the product or brand name represents a more tactical decision related to the implementation of well researched and carefully designed product strategy, not unlike determining pricing, distribution, or promotional tactics. However, while companies can revisit and modify most of the marketing mix elements, they cannot easily change their essential product or brand name after launch.

This conceptual note is an introduction to the practical aspects of designing and selecting brand names that will positively influence consumer behavior and promote brand trial, adoption, repeat purchase, and eventual brand loyalty. Successful branding relies heavily on the use of language and symbols to create and communicate meaning to target markets. Foundational theories and concepts from semiotics and linguistics can help brand managers analyze consumer perception, interpretation, and understanding of brands and brand experiences.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand the concepts of psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and semiotics.
  • Describe the three main branches of semiosis: syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.
  • Identify the buyer persona of two, well-known brands.
  • Explain why developing a semantic map can uncover unique points of differentiation for a product or service.
  • Analyze how lexical semantics, shapes, and colors are used to develop a memorable brand.