Death of an Acronym

by Blake Howard    March 26, 2013

Brevity is king in brand names, elected by the people, of the people, for the people.


An indicator of a poor brand name is a user generated abbreviation or acronym. Why? Because it means the name is too long or too hard to say. Federal Express, for example, was shortened to FedEx first by employees and customers then later adopted by the company in January of 2000.

People will always go the route of brevity for the sake of talk-ability. This is America people! We LOVE drive thrus, short cuts, and efficiencies. What’s easier to say, “Go buy a car from The Ford Motor Company” or “Go buy a Ford?”

Some brands go the route of acronyms, which solves the problem of brevity but comes with baggage of its own. Acronyms are also hard to use in conversation and fail to communicate any sort of meaning for the brand. A meaningful name is a great brand asset because it says something about the brand. Acronyms, however, don’t say anything. They are especially tough for smaller businesses who don’t have a huge marketing budget to help give meaning to the acronym. IBM, originally named International Business Machines, is an outlier because they’ve had a hundred years and billions of dollars to give those three little letters meaning. So, if you have a hundred  years and billion dollars, consider an acronym.

Great brand names are the death of the acronym because they are no longer needed. Brevity is king in the land of names because it serves the people best. 2-3 syllables are the best candidates. Anything more might cause an uprising. Vive la brevity!

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