Branding Speaker, Trainer, and Coach

Stop the acronym heaven!

Stop the acronym heaven!

I recently stumbled across this ad. I’m stuck.

  • What are they selling?
  • Why?
  • What does SOBEWFF stand for?
  • What’s the benefit?
  • How much is it?
  • Who sponsors it?

Help! In other words, this ad is a waste of dollars. The developers forgot the What’s-In-It-For-Me formula and wrote an ad that they understand, and we don’t.

I’ve talked before about having a “mom reviewer.” In other words, ensure that your copy makes sense by running it by someone not in your industry who will let you know if it passes the smell test. (My mom was great about informing me when my copywriting was suspect. 😊)

Acronyms are a sure-fire way to confuse your readers. Why? Because consumers are always looking to understand the initials. It’s as if we read KFC, but our minds still say aloud: Kentucky Fried Chicken. That type of thinking is one of the reasons that I thought the name change was a bad idea; it still contains the dreaded “f” word.

A great client of mine writes about ED. Of course, I always think the acronym stands for the male need for the little blue pill. In her world, the term stands for “Eating Disorder.”

Research shows that acronyms are 30% less memorable than real words. Your target market is thinking the company is called HIA or ITTA or something like that. Good naming deserves “flawless recall”— you remember the correct name each time and every time.

The bottom line: the next time you start to exclaim, “but everyone in my industry understands that term,” think again and spell out the words.

  1. How about two stylized letters ONLY for a logo? One that no one knows what it is?

    I just tuned in to the Australian Open tennis event last night and there is a “KN” that is, apparently, one of the major sponsors, as it is displayed all around the court, even on the net.

    What is it, and what does it mean? I’ve been watching a match on ESPN3 (one of the many livestreams), and they have commercials, but none for KN, yet. Sure, I could look it up, but . . . why should I WORK to find out what they are trying to sell to me? 😛

    The Nike swoosh, I could understand, as that has been established for decades, but I have never heard of KN. Perhaps I will find out by the end of the tournament, but I already have a dismissive attitude toward whatever it is. So, first they will have to tell me what it is, then they will have to help me overcome my negative first impression of them.

    • And what’s even funnier is that even if you Google KN and the Australian Open, Google thinks you’re looking for information on KIA! If Google doesn’t recognize you, what does that say about your brand name?

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