We recently traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit with family. While driving around, I kept seeing buildings with no other markings but a simple sign: “BB&T.”
obÃ‚Â·fusÃ‚Â·cate (defined by tfd.com)
1. To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand
2. To render indistinct or dim; darken
What was BB&T? The rather nondescript buildings provided no clues as to their function or purpose. It turns out that BB&T is a bank. I didn’t find that out until I returned home and stumbled across an article on the Fool.com.
So if I had just moved to Raleigh and needed a bank I probably would have stopped by any of the other numerous financial institutions that actually had “bank” or “banking” on their marquee. It pays to clearly define your company and services!
Barrier to Entry
Hiding your company behind an acronym will not help you win new customers. Using an acronym goes against sound company naming conventions. When potential customers can’t tell what your company does, they’ll drive on by and do business with someone else.
Acronyms are Confusing
Unless an acronym is defined up-front, people will not necessarily know what you’re talking about. Even after an acronym has been explained, people will forget the meaning until they’ve seen it several times. Once an acronym has been used so much that it is commonplace (i.e. IBM or USA) it will become effective. Only then may individuals that have never had contact with you recognize your company by its acronym.
If you are forced to use an acronym, explain it or supplement it with an explanation. If BB&T had used a sign with a subtitle like “banking – investments – loans, ” I would have known right away what they were about.
Don’t leave your potential customers guessing. Avoid acronyms and explain clearly (and for all to see) what your business can do for customers.