Acronyms – the Dark Side

naming and acronymsIf you are in research, government, or some scientific or medical industry, acronyms likely dominate many product and company names. In our previous post, we talked about how “acronaming” can actually be useful and beneficial. However, there are a number of pitfalls that can quickly steer you from the safe and productive path of acronaming, to the wild, weird, and destructive path of acronym wasteland. To avoid becoming an acronym casualty, put these best-practices in your guidebook.

To experience success, an acronym typically needs to be:

1.)    Meaningful. Unless the acronym itself is a short, real word (e.g., AIM, EDGE, GEO or PRO), they don’t engage. That is, they do nothing to help support your USP, brand positioning or any other key differentiator.

2.)    Easy to say. Acronyms are often challenging to pronounce and annoy customers by forcing them to say each letter individually.

3.)    Memorable. They are harder to remember than short, snappy real-word-like names and very few can remember what the acronym stands for.

4.)    Registerable. They are often difficult to register as a trademark.

5.)    Unique. They tend to get lost in the alphabet soup of all the other similar acronyms, causing customer confusion and brand dilution. For example, a quick Google search for CABC yielded 173,000 hits including cabc.net, cabc.com, cabc.co.uk, cabc.org, etc.

6.)    Not Too contrived. Coming up with words to fit each letter of the acronym can often result in overly contrived name that turns-off prospects instead of making sense and supporting a key attribute or benefit.

7.)    Able to stand alone. Acronyms are rarely compelling, intriguing, evocative, emotional or self-propelling.

So, if you follow these specific guidelines, using acronyms in a name can be largely successful; however, it is not easy. For almost all of our clients, we recommend avoiding acronyms altogether and instead focusing on more compelling and relevant real words or real-word like names. We’ll post more about this strategy soon. Happy naming!

2 Comment(s)

  1. Hi there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and wonderful design and style.|

    online retail sales portal | Dec 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thank you so much for your feedback! It’s always wonderful to get a positive message from someone new. More to come in the next 2 weeks!

    admin | Jan 7, 2013 | Reply

Post a Comment

  • HealthYes!

    Video Testimonial - Part 1 | 2

  • Snapio

    Video Testimonial - Part 1 | 2

  • Raving Fans

  • Thanks so much for all your expert advice and professional project management throughout this endeavor. This has been one of the most satisfying engagements with a vendor that I have experienced over the years, which speaks to the high quality and thoughtful output of your efforts. I especially appreciated your flexibility and patience as the project took on new challenges which impacted the scope of work. You can be certain that as our business grows, NameStormers will be top-of-mind for future work.
    Will Jarred - Executive Director of Sales & Marketing - ETS - Educational Testing Service
  • ________________

  • We have rarely encountered the level of service and professionalism we received with you. You made us feel that we were important, and you did everything you said you would do when you said you would do it. And frankly, after such a positive experience with you, I can't help but notice how the service we receive from others pales in comparison. We felt like you put your heart into this project, and we will forever appreciate the attention you gave us. Whenever we encounter anyone in the future who needs your services, you will be the first and only name we recommend. Thank you. We have sincerely enjoyed working with you.
    Tim Dietrich - CEO, formerly Amicus Mutual Insurance Company, now Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company
  • ________________

  • I can't say enough about how well you handled what would have been a very difficult if not impossible branding exercise for us to do in-house. The NameStormers brought an excellent level of creativity, objectivity and a fresh look at what we live with everyday, and that is just what we needed. At the beginning of this project, I had my doubts about our ability to come up with a brand name in just 3 weeks and clearly without your help, we wouldn't have been able to do it. You really made my job easy.
    Kate Strong - Manager, Marketing Communications - Lightbridge
  • ________________

  • I received your presentation booklet for our new car concept---I looked through it and want to compliment you on an outstanding job. The names you have developed will be terrific starting points for us as we move our project forward. We will not hesitate to use your firm again.
    Mike Suchstand - Vice President, Strategic Development - THORN Americas, Inc.
  • ________________

  • Mike, Thanks for the quick turn around time. I appreciate all you have done to help us with name, logo and tagline. Some great work!
    Rob Greenbaum - Senior Vice President - Marketing - Nationstar, formerly Centex Home Equity
  • ________________

  • Our success with our name change and branding has been phenomenal. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out. I am ecstatic over it. Our experience in working with NameStormers has been so good let's just call them again and let them handle this next project for us.
    Bill Macey - CEO of Valtera, formerly Personnel Research Associates
  • ________________

  • I wanted to thank you and the NameStorming team for your great effort in helping me find a name for the company and our first product...starting a new business is quite a sizeable undertaking so knowing a competent team was tending to the name issues was a relief. We love the (company) name. We are also going to use the product name Acquis for a family of internet-and-otherwise commerce software packages. It really was a pleasure working with you. I look forward to NameStorming in the future.
    Tom Dowdell - Senior Software Developer - Intuitive Edge