“We think we know what’s going on, we think we know why we’re making decisions, but it turns out a lot of what’s going on is being driven by forces that are beyond our control and beyond our understanding,” the assistant professor of marketing and psychology at New York University said, speaking at a media breakfast hosted by consumer behaviour and technology company Vivant this morning.
Using the analogy of an iceberg, our subconscious tends to be the gigantic clump of ice underneath the waterline where there’s lots going on, whereas our bigger decisions and that which requires our attention happen right at the tip.
Alter outlined how a number of cues, such as the name of a brand, can help shape our decisions and understandings subconsciously, as outlined in his book, Drunk Tank Pink.
Fluency is one aspect of brand naming Alter believes is crucial.
The fluency refers to what consumers associate with certain names and sounds.
“Just as you become fluent with a language, some names are more fluent than other names,” he said ahead of his Tedx talk in Sydney on Saturday., adding how people often associate particular sounds with shapes and types of companies.
“Unless you’re a luxury brand, fluency within your company’s name is what to aim for."
“If you’re changing that name, that’s okay, that will add some disfluency, but if you change it to something that’s also fluent and is useful, there’s a lot of evidence that that is a better outcome.”
When naming your company, three rules Adam Alter recommends to stick to are simplicity, working out exactly what you want to convey and adding in a small dose of disfluency to get people to stop and pay attention.