The brains behind the brands: Lexicon uses sound science to name big brands

Lexicon Branding uses cutting-edge ‘sound science’ to help companies ranging from consumer giants to brand-new startups pick the nicest names.

January 31, 2019

What do Gimlet, Febreze, Sonos, Truvia, and Swiffer have in common? They were all named by the same branding company: Lexicon Branding.

As brands become increasingly global, good branding is becoming even more important. Lexicon Branding, a tiny privately owned company with fewer than 50 employees, has named nearly 4k brands in 19 countries, Quartz reports.

The science of ‘sound symbolism’

Lexicon takes sounds seriously: The company spent more than $2m and 5 years traveling across the world and conducting cross-cultural research on ‘sound symbolism.’

So, what are some examples of what they found? No matter where you were born, the ‘v’ sound evokes vitality (Viagra, Virgin) while the ‘b’ and ‘t’ sounds evoke reliability (Timberland, Blackstone).

With 640k trademark applications for new brands filed every year, Lexicon argues that an original and memorable brand name can be a crucial competitive advantage in a crowded landscape.

So, what’s in a name?

For Lexicon, anywhere from $40k to $250k. The brand charges big bucks to help growing brands separate themselves from the pack.

Lexicon’s work ranges from individual product names for large companies (Subaru’s ‘Outback,’ Colgate’s ‘Optic White,’ Dreyers’ ‘Dibs’) to brand names for smaller companies (Impossible Burger, Sonos).

But even though Lexicon’s services are expensive, it’s hard to argue with the sweet, sweet sound of success: So far, businesses have sold more than $350B worth of Lexicon-named products. 

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