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In fact, question from the title.

Are there any traditions, customs about stressed syllables of brands?

The problem is - many of brands contained fictional words, which, of course, have not been used ever before.

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Steve Wilhite, GIF inventor, has tried to have gif pronounced with a soft g /dz/ but most people pronounce it with a hard g. –  KCH May 2 at 17:35
    
By contrast, Moleskine has by design no "official" pronounciation. Apparently Italians typically say "mo-lay-ski-nay" but I'm sure many Americans say "mole-skine", and everything in between. –  Eric Lippert May 2 at 20:34
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@KCH Out of curiosity, do you have any data to back up "most people"? Most people I know pronounce GIF with a soft g. –  jamesdlin May 2 at 21:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Both Companies and individual people (I'm looking at you, Stephen Colbert) do this all the time. You can decide how you want your name pronounced, you just have to convince everyone else to pronounce it the same way. That might be difficult for words and names you've made up, particularly if they don't follow normal phonetic rules.

This reminds me of the oil and gas company Schlumberger. It's a French company, and their name is pronounced Shlum-ber-zhay, but as they have a pretty large presence in America many people here mistakenly pronounce it Shlum-ber-ger before being corrected. My cousin worked there and told me that interviewees who mispronounced the name had a serious strike against them.

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I think the moral of this is: figure out how a company's name is pronounced before interviewing with them. –  Peter Shor May 2 at 16:38
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Organizations can try to determine pronunciation of their name. But they can't oblige everyone to pronounce it the way they want, and they can't forbid anyone to pronounce it the way they don't want. They are limited to making it a matter of courtesy, applicable only to those who care about courtesy to organizations. –  John Lawler May 2 at 16:43
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@PeterShor It struck me as a pretty smart way to weed out prospects. If you can't be bothered to figure out the pronunciation of the company you're interviewing for, you probably either aren't all that interested in the position or you aren't detail oriented. –  Mordred May 2 at 16:50
    
I found this a bit ironic though: as a marketer, if you have enough presence of mind in your target market that you can influence their pronunciation, you've already won, and who cares what your brand name is! :) –  Fabio Beltramini May 2 at 21:17
    
Hmm - As I suspected, Schlumberger was founded by two brothers, natives of Alsace. Hence Shlum-ber-zhay is in fact a French mispronunciation; but it should be pronounced Shlum-berr-gerr, not Shlum-burr-gerr. –  Magoo May 3 at 6:56

It depends on what you mean by "determine."

Can companies suggest a pronunciation of their brand name? Yes.

Can companies enforce a pronunciation of their brand name? No, except among their own employees.

You will sometimes see companies include notes on pronunciation in press releases and such, and most journalists will follow that lead as a matter of good practice. (For example: soccer team "D.C. United" used to include at the bottom of every press release a request that journalists not refer to them as "the United.")

But ultimately, this is only a suggestion. If you open a restaurant and put up a sign that says "A Taste of Paris," people are probably going to say "Pah-riss" even if your waiters say "Welcome to A Taste of Pa-ree."

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...but it's still Nestles as far as I'm concerned. Like politicians, they have the resources to try to change history. They also have rivals in their markets. –  Magoo May 2 at 17:10
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@Magoo +1 Mars changed the spelling of Marathon slightly to Snickers but it's still pronounced Marathon and now they are changing the spelling back ( marathonbars.com ) but it's still full of nuggat (spelled nougat) peanuts and caramel. –  Frank May 2 at 17:28
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I'm still trying to get my last name "Smith" to be pronounced "Throat Warbler Mangrove". It is an uphill battle. –  Oldcat May 2 at 19:40

Relexification is commonly used for marketing a company or product to English speaking consumers

Relexification:

The process of replacing a word or group of words in one language with a corresponding word or group of words from another language, without grammatical adjustment of the items introduced.

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