Abstract

1. LITERATURE
The concept of gender is considered as one of the most important and determining variables of marketing. Although the segmentation made according to the visible biological gender (male and female) have yielded positive results until today, the changing roles and status of women and men require taking their gender into consideration. Increasing influence of women in business life, existence in the ruling class, metrosexual and sharing characteristics of men, pressures on equality, activist actions of social groups make it necessary to rethink and redefine the concept of gender. Now, marketers and brand managers take into account social gender along with biological gender, which is easily evident and frequently used in segmentalization, and evaluates the effects of multiple factors such as culture, family, business and friend environment, occupation on this concept. The concept of gender plays an important role in brand expansion strategies, advertising slogans, packaging preferences and color selection, and has an impact on the brand's perception of feminine or masculine.


1.1. RESEARCH SUBJECT
When consumers do not have brand connotations, when they first encounter a new brand name on a sign or packaging, they rely on the meanings conveyed by brand name sound systems to create inferences about brand features and performance. The letters phonetically owned by the brands (consonant and vowel case, thickness and fineness of the letters, etc.) are excluded from the scope of this research. The effect of only font type, font characer and font colour is the focus of the research. For this reason, six font types (Impact, Stencil, Showcard Gothic, Kristen ITC, Brush Script, Lucida Handwriting) and three font characters (bold, italic and bold-italic) were determined in this study. It has been investigated whether these font types and font characters have an effect on brand gender perception, and to what extent blue and pink font colour affects these perceptions.
1.2. RESEARCH PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE
The main purpose of this study is to examine whether font type, character and colour have an effect on consumers' perceptions of gender. The scope of the research is also to reveal the general perceptions of consumers regarding brand gender, to test their beliefs that the brand may have a certain gender, and to reveal the reasons why consumers of different genders are interested in different brands. Existing studies on brand gender in Turkey is rather limited (see Bas and Merter, 2013; Yildirim and Komurcu, 2019). Although there are studies in other areas such as gender, gender difference in advertising message perception, market segmentation towards sex, loyalty, satisfaction, and sex relation, it is seen that studies directly related with brand gender are limited. This study is a leading that addresses the issue of brand gender within the context of font type, font character and font colour, and investigates the effect of font styles on brand gender. In this sense, the study, which is the first in terms of its subject, is important in terms of expanding the literature and offering some administrative suggestions about brand gender.


1.3. CONTRIBUTION of the ARTICLE to the LITERATURE
This is the first study done in Turkey which takes into account type fonts, characters and colour effects on brand gender perceptions. Previous studies focused on biological sex and investigate effect of sex on ads messages, market segmentation. As known, sex is used different from gender as a meaning. This study directly focuses on brand gender and correlates font types, characters and color with brand gender perceptions.


2. DESIGN AND METHOD
The population of the research is 14 brand professionals in Ankara and Istanbul. The “Purposive Sampling” method was used in the research, and the people who were able to answer the questions to be asked in the most accurate way, were included in the sample group. In the research, semi-structured interview technique was used as data collection technique. During the interview, 7 semi-structured questions were asked to the participants. In addition to seven open-ended questions, 6 font types (Impact, Stencil, Showcard Gothic, Kristen ITC, Brush Script, Lucida Handwriting) have been identified. The article "Communicating Brand Gender Through Type Fonts" by Grohmann (2016) was used to determine these fonts. "Bold", "italic" and "bold italic" were used as font characters. The brand names are shown on the cards prepared for the sample group, and different font types, font colours and font characters are used in these brands. In determining the brands, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and car rental businesses have been selected and names that do not exceed "Resort", "Hotel", "Motel", "Suite" and "Beach" are preferred. Expressions such as “tourism, tour” for travel agencies are removed from the brand name. Thus, the sample group is prevented from knowing which category the brand shown belongs to. Because knowing the categories in advance can cause telling the gender based on memorization.
2.1. RESEARCH TYPE
Qualitative method was used in this research. In the in-depth interview method applied, 7 open-ended questions were asked, and the opinion of three expert academicians was taken in the preparation of the questions, and it was previously determined whether they were suitable for the purpose of the research and the data it intends to obtain. The academics, whose opinions were taken, were not included in the study.


2.2. RESEARCH PROBLEMS
The main problem of the research is to find out whether the brand's font type, font character and font colour are influenced by gender perception. In addition, learning beliefs, attitudes and ideas about whether the brand has a gender or not is among the aims of this research.


2.3. DATA COLLECTION METHOD
Interview method was used as data collection technique and 14 brand professionals were interviewed in depth.


3. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
At the end of the study, it was seen that different font types and font characters create different gender perception.


3.1. FINDINGS as a RESULT of ANALYSIS
According to the results of the analysis, most of the participants believe that the brand name may have a gender. Research findings show that brand gender can be caused by advertising, advertising slogans, gender of the celebrity playing in advertising, phonetic features of brand name, number of vowel-consonant letters and preferred colours. Another finding that emerged as a result of this research is that people can also choose brands that are not compatible with their sex. The participants said that they could also buy a brand that is located on the opposite sex. In addition, the findings of the research show that the cross-gender strategy is applicable for brands. In other words, a feminine brand can target male consumers and women in a masculine brand.
4. CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND LIMITATIONS


4.1. RESULTS of the ARTICLE
The results of the research include the masculine font of words such as dark, upright, dominant, bold, sharp, cult, protruding, fleshy; the words such as elegant, thin, curved, handwritten, italic, soft lines and round express the feminine font. The fonts and characters shown with the cards also supported the interview results. Accordingly, while the italic font character is perceived as feminine with fine, handwritten and italic fonts such as Kristen ITC, Brush Script and Lucida Handwriting, the bold font is perceived as masculine with Impact, Stencil and Showcard Gothic fonts. Results about to font types are shown as below Figure 1.
FONT TYPES
Masculinity Femininity
Impact Kristen ITC
Stencil Brush Script
Showcard Gothic Lucida Handwriting



4.2. SUGGESTIONS BASED on RESULTS
In future studies, while examining the effect of brand name on gender perception, researchers are recommended to take into account the number of vowels and consonants included in brand names, to investigate the effect of letters' thickness and fineness on gender, and to apply this research on different main mass and sample. In addition, gender perceptions of advertising slogans can be looked at or it can be suggested to examine the brand gender perceptions of individuals who are single girls or single boys in families with many children.


4.3. LIMITATIONS of the ARTICLE
The biggest limitation of this study is that it was carried out on a small number of brand professionals. Future research can be carried out on a larger number of different samples. It can also contribute to the literature in research on consumers.