25th Sep 2014| by Paul Findlay

Brands leaving better impressions

You’ve probably never really thought about why some brands leave better impressions than others, why would you?

Sometimes just looking at a companies Brand Mark (a snazzy word for logo) and brand name, it can just feel better… and sometimes it even looks just the way that you expect it to look, it’s been crafted so damn that it just makes perfect sense… This is not always just a coincidence… believe it or not there’s actually some freaky science behind the thinking of how the name developed and the way the brand mark has been created.

Brand strategists often rely on what is known as the ‘Bouba/Kiki Effect’… weird name I know, but hang in there as this will make sense very soon…

In 1929, the German-American psychologist Wolfgang Köhler conducted a pretty freaken interesting experiment in which he presented Spanish-speaking participants in the Canary Islands the following two images:

Look at these shapes below (these were the same shapes used in the first 1929 experiment) and see if you can pick which one is Bouba and which is Kiki…

Scientists Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and Edward Hubbard also did their own version of this experiment in 2001, they presented the same shapes to American college students and Tamil speakers in India and asked them which shape they saw as ‘Bouba’ and which one was ‘Kiki’? More than 95% of each group said Kiki was the sharp pointy shape and Bouba was the soft rounded shape. If your answer was the same you got it right! (Insert exploding fireworks and popping champagne sound effects here).

This is one of the many tools that we use when we’re creating brand names and Brand Marks, and this not only shows us that we see shapes as words and words as shapes, but we can also brand things better and create better brand experiences with this process in mind. The impression your brand leaves should not only be the best it can be, but it should also get you customers closer to what your brand’s about, so it can tell it’s story more authentically.

Here’s an example of a brand mark we developed here at Brands to life™ for skincare brand Milk by Michael and Lindy Klim. As you’ll probably now note (being Bouba / Kiki), this Brand Mark clearly represents the form of the round and soft ‘Bouba’ over a sharp pointy ‘Kiki’ – The name Milk itself (Milk is Klim backwards btw) also feels very ‘Boubaish’ so it made perfect sense to us to ‘embrace the Bouba’ to help bring the Milk brand to life in all the right ways. We believe that this approach can leave a better lasting impression to anyone who comes in contact with your brand.