Why are brands telling us how to say their names?

A recent influx of brand campaigns have reminded audiences how to say or spell their names properly. CR looks into the drive behind this and how it’s achieved without alienating the audience

A memorable name is often key for brand awareness, especially if it’s just being established. However, with companies more global than ever, pronunciations and misspellings are more likely, which can lead to a marketing headache for brands.

For some, if the bones of the brand are strong enough it doesn’t matter either way. Take Nike for instance. In 2014 co-founder and former CEO Phillip Knight confirmed the official pronunciation was the two syllable ‘Nikey’ after fans asked for clarification. Yet a glance at the almost annual surveys of ‘brands people pronounce wrong’ and Nike is always in the top five, yet it is still one of the largest and most recognisable sports brands in the world.

For the brands where it does matter, a constant mispronunciation or misspelling could limit brand reach because if they’re not just saying the name wrong, what else could they be getting wrong about the brand? “The holy grail in advertising is to find something that’s ownable, and there’s nothing more ownable than your brand name,” says Dom Sweeney, head of creative at Innocean UK. “If you can draw attention to it in an interesting way that doesn’t alienate people, then your brand will be remembered.”

Top and above: Screenshots from Dawn of a New Hyundai campaign, Innocean UK