If you’re going to christen a new company, it literally pays to choose easy-to-remember names like Barnings or Hillard. Even the three-letter ticker codes assigned to each stock made a difference: after just 24 hours on the markets, stocks with pronounceable ticker codes (e.g., KAG) rose in value 33% more than those with unpronounceable ticker codes (e.g., KGA). The simpler or more fluent the name, the more familiar and comfortable it felt, so, like a sunny day, a simple name dampened the riskiness of the gamble.
There’s plenty of evidence that the rest of us fall prey to similar biases. If you look at the names of some of the largest companies in the world, you’ll notice something that inspired founder George Eastman to name his camera company Kodak: They begin with a strong, decisive hard C or K. One analysis conducted in 1979 found that companies like Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Koch Industries and Costco made up 39 of the top 200 US companies, while a whopping 93 of those companies contained the sound somewhere in their names. The sound is one that conveys strength.