Functional or Meaningless? A debate on the use of initials in brand names and designs

J. C. Machado, Irini Pitsaki

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Abstract

Initials are used extensively in branding to shorten long company names and/or incorporate them in logos. Current literature often highlights the need for brand names and logos to be memorable, distinctive, able to succinctly convey meaning, and easy to pronounce; how well do initials serve these purposes? This paper suggests a systematic approach to such questions, and describes a study of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of initials in brand names and logos. We review brand management and design literature and host a debate launched on social media, in order to identify cases in which initials in branding are considered successful or, on the contrary, constitute bad practice and should be avoided. The opinions of marketing, branding and design experts are incorporated into our findings, resulting in a series of practical suggestions for an industry-wide efficient application of acronyms in contemporary branding. Our research draws from the specialist opinion and specific case studies, and delivers a set of guidelines with practical implications for brand name selection and logo design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts from the 10th Global Brand Conference of Brand. Identity and Corporate Reputation SIG
PublisherAcademy of Marketing
Pages164-169
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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    Machado, J. C., & Pitsaki, I. (2015). Functional or Meaningless? A debate on the use of initials in brand names and designs. In Book of Abstracts from the 10th Global Brand Conference of Brand. Identity and Corporate Reputation SIG (pp. 164-169). Academy of Marketing.