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

  • Empowered Imaging Partners, LLC struggled with its own internal marketing group for 10+ weeks to coin the brand name that would launch our national Preventive Health Screening brand. When we eventually gave up and turned to Mike Carr and NameStormers, we were impressed with their professionalism and process orientation. HealthYES.com was the final brand chosen out of at least 3 viable alternatives provided by NameStormers. Without reservation, we recommend NameStormers as 'the company to turn to' for naming.
    Craig Lindley and Dale Wood - Co-Founders of Empowered Imaging Partners, LLC - now HealthYES.com
  • ________________

  • I must underscore what an absolute pleasure it was to work with you during this entire project. Your methodical, timely, and resourceful approach to educating me on how a new name affects a company, and the steps you so painstaking address to make the transition a seamless one, were outstanding. Each time I needed to contact you to get direction or clarification, you responded with immediate and informative action. You are the consummate professional and a real pleasure to work with.
    Dorian Stern - Director of Marketing, Logicare
  • ________________

  • 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 want to thank you very much for your team's effort on this project. You all worked very quickly and gave us excellent direction. I am sure many hours were spent in developing the many name lists you presented us. Your added value enabled us to move forward with a name consumers preferred over the prior internal name. I look forward to working with your company in the future!
    Brand Category Manager - A Major Global Tire Company
  • ________________

  • 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
  • ________________

  • We have filed six trademarks to date which were created by The NameStormers. As is, six global trademarks in one year is unprecedented for any agency we have contacted. On several projects, you triumphed where other agencies had failed us. The process is simple, fast and yields wonderful results.
    Tracey K. Higgins - Director, Trademark Development - Worldwide Human Health Marketing, MERCK & Co., Inc.
  • ________________

  • 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