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2017/2018  BA-BIMKV1603U  Naming & Framing as a tool for identity building and consumer communication across markets and cultures

English Title
Naming & Framing as a tool for identity building and consumer communication across markets and cultures

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BA in Intercultural Marketing Communication
Course coordinator
  • Viktor Smith - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Secretary - Tine Silfvander - ts.iadh@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation
  • Communication
  • Marketing
Last updated on 28-02-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • a clear understanding of the basic theoretical and methodological concepts and principles presented during the course
  • ability to formulate and systematically pursue a set of clear research questions relative to the self-chosen exam case in accordance with established academic norms in either Danish or English
  • hands-on skills in evaluating and performing creative wordmaking for commercial and/or organizational purposes as practiced in case-based excercises in class.
Course prerequisites
The course welcomes undergraduate students from all CBS programmes, guest students from other Danish universities (if their profile and level is approved by the Study Board) and exchange students from abroad. It will contribute new insights and tools relevant to students specializing in marketing communication, branding, organizational communication, cross-cultural business communication, PR, language management, journalism, and related fields. Basic knowledge of communication and marketing will be an advantage, but profound knowledge is NOT expected. It is however essential that the students take a general interest in human communication and cognition, and the role of language as a tool of innovative thinking. Although the teaching language is English, the course will, to the extent possible, also draw upon and involve other languages, including the native languages and cultural backgrounds of participating exchange students.
Naming & Framing as a Tool for Identity Building and Consumer Communication Across Markets and Cultures:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter and Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

During the course, you will identify a real-life case involving a naming & framing challenge of your own interest which you will use for the course paper project.
The topic must be approved by the teacher. In relation to this you will use course literature relevant to the chosen topic.


The exam paper should reflect the students' ability to:

  • Formulate a set of clear-cut research questions relative to a self-identified real-life naming & framing challenge.
  • Apply key concepts and methods presented during the course to analyzing the communicative and cognitive specifics of the case at hand
  • Suggest and motivate original naming & framing solutions.
Course content and structure


What were smartphones, Apps, sneakers and Alzheimer's disease (and drugs against it) before they became known as... exactly that? “Having a name for it” is not just a matter of putting labels on objects and phenomena in the infinite variety of reality. It is a matter of categorizing such objects and phenomena, (re)identifying them at each new encounter, making sense of them, and encompassing them into our minds by relating them to our reasoning, values, and personal goals. In all but a trivial sense, this is tantamount to creating them as objects of human thought, desire, and action. When planted in the minds of other people, they will be remembered and affect the way they see things, possibly overshadowing competing names and other ways of seeing the “same” things. In turn, any act of naming involves framing in two distinct, but closely related respects. First, the origin, composition, and sometimes even sound of a new name will often frame whatever it denotes in a certain way, adding particular shades of meanings and positive or negative value to it, e.g. Nicotinell, Whopper, green taxes, humanitarian bombings, or lame duck. Yet since a name cannot “say” everything in itself, the final outcome will also strongly depend on how the name itself is framed by other words and sentences in the surrounding discourse, and by pictures, films, commercials, real-live events, packaging design and a host of other possible cues, including by people’s first-hand experiences with whatever the name is applied to. This is what has turned McDonalds into more than just some Anglo-American family name and what makes many people understand global warming as a threat to humanity rather than an opportunity to develop seaside resort tourism in Northern countries.


State of the art

The importance of naming and framing decisions is highly appreciated in a number of practice-oriented fields spanning from innovative product development, marketing, branding, and advertising to corporate communication, PR, lobbyism, politics, journalism, didactics and the development of professional terminologies. However, with a few exceptions, the issue is dealt with on a “strategic” level while the linguistic and cognitive mechanisms determining the success or failure of particular innovations pursuing particular purposes is mostly approached in anecdotic common-sense terms. Nevertheless, essential analytical tools and empirical insights are available in more fundamental directions of language and cognition research on when and how people spontaneously interpret and accept or reject unfamiliar words and word combinations, how surrounding verbal and visual cues can affect these processes, and how the typological specifics of different languages and language types can provide different conditions for successful naming and framing strategies across cultures.


Aims and content

The course aims at presenting some of the abovementioned insights in a concise and comprehensive form and relate them to the real-life naming and framing challenges encountered in the practice-oriented fields mentioned initially.

The course will supply the participants with analytical skills and operational tools that will enable them to contribute constructively and suggest new ideas for the planning, implementation and evaluation of naming and framing decisions for a variety of purposes in private and public enterprises.

A main focus will be the creation of names for novel products and their capability of affecting product and brand identity. Further topics include the use of naming and framing techniques in public issues management (by some called “spin”) and in cross-cultural communication, e.g., the management of global brands.The domains addressed may, within reasonable limits, encompass suggestions and input from the participants in view of their lines of study and general interests.

In terms of disciplines, the course integrates theoretical and empirical research from the fields of experimental psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology and knowledge management with goal-driven research into product naming and branding, communicative fairness, and other issues of interest. A key focus is the interplay between the built-in semantic potential of the name itself and the additional stimuli (framing) that affect people’s online sense-making and gradual concept formation when encountering it in running discourse. The latter span from the ongoing negotiation of political buzzwords in mass media to the framing of innovative food products through words, texts and images on the product packaging.


Teaching methods
The course combines theoretical lectures with hands-on exercises and multiple choice tests that will reinforce the participant’s analytical and creative communication and language management skills. This includes oral group presentation of self-identified cases illustrating essential naming and framing challenges for peer discussion and feedback. The casework in class will serve also as a basis for singling out the case material for the final group exam. Thus, the choice of communicative domain for the final exam paper may reflect the interests and academic competences of the members of each group in view of their lines of study and general interests.

The teaching will be performed by Viktor Smith and 2-3 guest lecturers.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given to the students throughout the course, ín particular in connection with group case presentations and multiple choice tests.
Student workload
Preparation at home, lectures and workshops in class 130 hours
Exam (including exam preparation) 76 hours
Expected literature

Aitchison, J. (2012). Words in the mind. An introduction to the mental lexicon. Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.


Benches, R. (2006). Creative compounding in English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Gill, T. & El Gamal, M. (2014), "Does exposure to dogs (cows) increase the preference for Puma (the color white)? Not always,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31, 125-126.


Gill, T. & Dubé, L. (2007). “What is a leather iron or a bird phone? Using conceptual combinations to generate and understand new product concepts”. Journal of Consumer Psychology 17(3), 202-217.


Riezebos, R. (2003). Brand Management: A Theoretical and Practical Approach. London:Prentice Hall. 


Smith, V.; Zlatev, J.; & Barratt, D. (2014). "Unpacking noun-noun compounds: Interpreting novel and conventional food names in isolation and on food labels." Cognitive Linguistics 25 (1), 99-147. 

Last updated on 28-02-2017