Bauer Research Examines Impact of Popular Brand Nicknames

Published on April 2, 2018



When consumers bestow a nickname on a popular brand, it can seem like a gift from benevolent marketing gods.

Think “Coke,” the now ubiquitous shorthand for Coca-Cola, or “Rollie,” a cute reference to luxury timepiece brand Rolex.

Bauer College doctoral student Zhe Zhang examined the impact of such monikers in a dissertation/research project accepted for publication in the Journal of the Association of Consumer Research.

Zhang, working with Bauer College marketing professor Dr. Vanessa Patrick, proposed that brand nicknames signify affection and reinforce consumer’s personal connection to specific brands. His research demonstrates that nicknames lend prominence to certain brands, with implications for future sales.

Zhang earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Vermont and received a Bauer Doctoral Student Research Grant in 2017. His current research topics are how brands use verbal and visual cues to facilitate brand communications and improve consumer brand loyalty. In addition to the research grant, he received the 2017 Best Bauer Dissertation Proposal Award and the Chairperson's Commendation Award of Teaching Excellence.