Can a Successful Brand Have an Accent?

  1. Who would you prefer to sell you a native French dish between a French chef and an American chef, if you’re French yourself?
  2. Between Dolly Parton and a Kardashian, whose endorsement of a kitchen appliance would be more credible to you?
  3. Who would you prefer to represent a tech company between a Brad Pitt and a Bill Gates?

My answers are:

  1. French chef
  2. Dolly Parton
  3. Bill Gates

As a French person, I would rather buy a native French dish from a French chef than from the best chef in the world who’s not French. As a Nigerian, I would sooner eat egwusi soup by a Nigerian chef than by the best chef in the world who’s not Nigerian. Dolly Parton as the author of a cookbook positions her as a more credible endorser of a kitchen appliance than Kardashians. Bill Gates is a savvy tech executive. Brad Pitt is a movie star. Brad Pitt’s face on a tech company would be out of place, whereas Bill Gates’ face on any tech company lends credibility to it.

𝐌𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡-𝐮𝐩 𝐡𝐲𝐩𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬 is an interesting concept in both psychology and business. The theory derives from the idea that the effectiveness of a product advertisement depends on the congruency between the endorser and the product. Following this narrative, a brand with an accent can be successful if that distinct voice is associated with the product or service the brand is selling.

A 1999 study by 𝐋𝐰𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐖𝐞𝐞 found that Australians and Myanmarese preferred commercials in their own accented English to the standard British accent. This discovery aligns with the schema theory which suggests that familiarity with a local product is implied where there’s a match between the endorser’s local accent and the product.

Indeed, a successful brand can have an accent, and an accented brand can become successful. Voice Talent Online is a great example of the success a brand can achieve through multi-accented voices. Therefore, the ultimate goal of an accented brand would be to endear itself to a tribe. A brand’s accent would draw a tribe to it, its target audience, and in more ways would imprint the brand in the minds of customers who would remain loyal to it.

References

  1. Lawrence Ang and Chris Dubelaar (2006) ,"Explaining Celebrity Match-Up: Co-Activation Theory of Dominant Support",

    in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Margaret Craig Lees, Teresa Davis, and Gary Gregory,

    Sydney, Australia : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 378-384.
  2. Lwin, May Oo and C H Wee (1999), The Effects of an Audio Stimulus: Accents in English Language on Cross-cultural consumer response to Advertising, Journal of International Consumer Marketing, Vol. 11, No.2.

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