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The Name-Letter (Branding) Effect

"My name's Herman, too," he said to me. "I've always hated that name, so I get everyone to call me by my nickname, Buddy."

The man was a delegate at a recent Investments & Wealth Institute conference in New York City. But he hadn't introduced himself solely to mock me. Rather, he wanted to test for himself the Name-Letter Effect.

I had spoken about it during my Behavioural Ethics session on the previous day. In addition to explaining its implications for co-operative behaviour, sociality, and for trust, I also sought to draw the ethical line when exploiting it.

The other Herman was right: I liked him very much. I suspect, though, that his willingness to be vulnerable about his distaste for his name (I quite like mine) had at least as much impact as our name similarity.



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