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Brands, brains and B2B

A study led by Dr Eran Zeidel of UCLA has finally shown what many people have long believed: that recognition of brand names is an emotional short-cut. Brand names do not function like normal words and the brain processes them in a unique way.

The study arrived at this conclusion by placing students in front of a computer screen and flashing up various words – either on the left side or the right side of the screen. The words consisted of ordinary nouns like “table”, non-words such as “zorble” and brand names like “Sony”. When the student recognised the word, they were asked to press a button.

Interestingly, although common nouns flashed on the right side of the screen and processed by the left brain were recognised more quickly than brand names, the brand names fared far better when displayed on the left side of the screen indicating that the right side of the brain (the emotional response centre) was highly involved in processing the word. According to Dr Zaidel, the rules that apply to word recognition do not apply to brands.