How to pronounce your client’s name

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How to pronounce your client's name

Does anyone else follow @atfrenchies on Instagram? The two Parisians, lost in the US, teach their followers French 101 with thick accents and curt delivery. I’m oddly obsessed.

A recent vid titled ‘French fashion brands everyone pronounces SO wrong’ reminded me of a listicle I wrote back in 2019 on the pronunciation of beauty brand names – and inspired me to update it this month.

“Master beauty speak with Bazaar’s phonetic guide to commonly mispronounced brand names” it teases, listing many of the usual suspects from the French maisons such as Lanvin (it’s lahn-vahn!) to German eponymous lines like Augustinus Bader (au-gus-ti-nus bah-der). Of course, these have origins in different languages to that spoken by many UK-based readers, but that’s not always where ambiguity lies. LA-founded NYX (say: nix), for example, was named after Nyx – the Greek goddess of the night. Who knew?

Being beauty, a lot of brands have come – and gone – since I first published the piece, so if you have an example that you represent to add, let me know (with phonetic spelling, pretty please).

While the article is a bit of fun, it’s important to get brand names right, and such explanations are a way to provide consistent messaging across the industry. Regularly communicating your client’s hard-to-say name can’t hurt. But what can potentially harm a brand is not having a name that sticks in consumers’ minds; they may find it hard to connect with the company’s identity, confuse the brand with another, or struggle to recommend it to friends and followers.

Some things are forever lost in translation (does anyone actually say ni-key?), but in our business it pays to remember that a brand’s story starts with its name.

What Bridget thinks…

“A name that everybody knows, Chanel always catches my eye when featured in a subject line – but not just because of the brand’s legendary status. As is consistent with their press releases, this celebration of their make-up artists is simple while visually impactful and, crucially, useful.”

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