Abstract: An Exploration of the Effect of Language on Processing of Numbers in Alphanumeric Brand Names

SCP Conference, March 2014, Miami FL

Selcan Kara, Co-authors: Kunter Gunasti, Rod Duclos, and Bill Ross

Language structure is an influential factor on numerical cognition. We explore whether consumers’ number processing in ANBs (Alphanumeric brand names) can be related to differences in the language structure of the numeral system they use. For example, some languages, such as Chinese, have very systematized numeral systems; once you know the numbers 1 through 10 you can easily process any other number. Other languages, such as Turkish, require the knowledge of a new word for each tens digit. Some languages, such as English have unstructured wording for numbers below twenty. Certain languages, such as German, use backward wording for a verbal representation. Finally, on the extreme side, some languages have even more complex systems; for example, French has a partial vigesimal (20) system and other irregularities; and they process the number 91 as four twenties and eleven. Thus, the aim of this research is to understand variations in consumer perceptions of ANBs resulting from linguistic differences in numeral systems for five different languages, English, German, French, Turkish, and Chinese. As the results of an international experiment revealed, comparative evaluations of superiority and price expectations between the parent and extended brands were significantly different across languages. These results support the notion that language effects how consumers make brand related judgments based on numbers in ABNs.