Date of Completion


Embargo Period



brands, alphanumeric brand names, letter cognition, number cognition, numerosity, language

Major Advisor

William T. Ross, Jr.

Co-Major Advisor

Kunter Gunasti

Associate Advisor

David Norton

Associate Advisor

See Above

Field of Study

Business Administration


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Because consumers tend to rely on simplifying heuristics to reduce processing and judgmental operations (Bettman, Johnson, and Payne 2008; Tversky and Kahneman 1974), they use brand names as a judgmental heuristic, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the brand name heuristic (Maheswaran, Mackie and Chaiken 1992). From this perspective, in recent years, the use of alphanumeric brand names has emerged as an interesting test case for the role of cognition in consumers’ brand evaluations in the Marketing field. Alphanumeric brand names consist of combinations of letters and numbers either in digit or word form (Pavia and Costa 1993), such as Coke Zero and Audi A4. Literature documents that consumers use alphanumeric brand names as cues for overall evaluation of brands and/or products (Gunasti and Ross 2010; King and Janiszewski 2011; Boyd 1985; Pavia and Costa 1993). I focus on how consumers’ number cognition, which is also influenced by the language they speak, and letter cognition affects their evaluation of brands that use alphanumeric brand names. Hence, the current dissertation presents two essays. The first essay, in seven experiments, delineates the effects of alpha and numeric components of alphanumeric brand names (ANBs), by demonstrating the effects of disparities in processing between letter and number sequences on consumers’ brand evaluations. The second essay, in seven studies across three languages, investigates the potential roles of two numeral system characteristics on consumers’ evaluations of alphanumeric brand names (ANB): (i) base, defined as the number of unique digits, including zero, used to represent numbers in a positional numeral system, and (ii) non-transparency, defined as lack of smooth correspondence of the number words with the number values. Results of multiple international studies indicate that the aforementioned linguistic properties in the numeral parts of ABNs create different perceptions of numerosity in quantitative comparisons and lead to differences in comparative evaluations of ANBs.

Available for download on Monday, April 30, 2018