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UTSA study analyzes effects of word sounds on children's brand preferences

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(Sept. 25, 2012) -- Tina M. Lowrey, UTSA professor of marketing in the College of Business, and Stacey Baxter, a University of Newcastle professor, have completed research that suggests that the sound of a word influences children's brand preferences. The article, "Phonetic Symbolism and Children's Brand Name Preferences," was published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Three experiments were conducted with children age five to 12 years old to examine their preferences for a brand name based on sounds. Experiment one examined their preference for a brand name based on the words used to describe the product. Experiment two extended this research across product categories to look at brand name preferences related to a product's features. Finally, experiment three investigated the interaction between pure phonetic symbolism, or the sound of a word, and its actual meaning.

The research suggested that children make specific associations between sounds and brand/product attributes. The findings also showed that children prefer brand names where the vowel sound is similar to the product's attributes. Front vowel sounds, vowel sounds made when the tongue is positioned in the front of the mouth, were preferred for products perceived to be small and light.

It also was determined that back vowel sounds, vowel sounds made when the tongue is positioned in the back of the mouth, were preferred for products perceived as big and heavy. The researchers suggest that marketers should consider these relationships between vowel sounds and a brand's characteristics when choosing a brand name.

"By conducting these in-depth studies regarding the correlation between a word's sounds and children's brand preferences, we hope to have an impact on the process by which marketers choose inventive and distinct brand names," said Lowrey.

Nationally ranked and recognized, the UTSA College of Business is accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It is one of the 40 largest business schools in the nation with 6,000 enrolled students and 37 graduate and undergraduate business programs. The college is dedicated to raising its academic profile to become one of the best business schools recognized for developing "Knowledge for a New World." For more information, call 210-458-4313.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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