Shifting Perception By Turning Descriptive Names To Acronyms18 Apr 2014
Reading about all the hoopla around the new season of AMC’s Mad Men this week got me thinking about acronyms and their derivations, and more significantly, how firms use them to shift perception about their brands.
AMC, if you recall, stood for American Movie Classics. Once upon a time it was a channel devoted to Westerns and other motion pictures. Then, AMC branched out into television series that became bona fide hits such as Breaking Bad, Walking Dead and of course MadMen.
HBO followed a similar path, Home Box Office, like AMC, was also a channel devoted to showing motion pictures until it developed some of the most revered series on television.
KFC was known for it’s Kentucky Fried Chicken until ‘fried’ became a byword for ‘unhealthy’.
Honk Kong Shanghai Banking Corp was a regional based commercial bank, now as HSBC it’s the ‘world’s local bank’.
Turning descriptive names into acronyms not only makes them shorter, it alters their perception by being, well, less descriptive, thus allowing these three or four letter names to take on new life and broader meanings.