Fear of the unknown is nothing new. And fear translates to negative perceptions about names and words when people can’t pronounce them. (Trust me, I’ve grown up with a name that’s difficult for most people!)
This presents a real challenge for business.
The average English-speaking adult (American, Canadian, Australian) reads at nearly a 10th grade level. That’s perfectly adequate for regular daily life, but it means most people don’t do well with new and out-of-the-ordinary vocabulary words or names.
A recent set of studies found that this problem has a couple implications for business.
In the first studies, people rated benign food additives as much more harmful when their names were difficult to pronounce than when their names were easier to say.
In the last study of the set, people rated amusement park rides as both more risky (and nausea-inducing) and more risky (and adventurous) when their names were difficult to pronounce.
The conclusion: if it’s hard to read or say, consumers perceive it as a potentially harmful risk.
Take-away: it’s a risk for you if it sounds like a risk to them.