Acronyms – Choose With Care

Recently I wrote about how important it is to choose the name of your business correctly.  There was a real-life case study this week on why choosing acronyms carefully is just as important.

In Europe, the best minds on offer managed to come up with SPIV to encapsulate the financial bailout package – SPIV stands for Special Purpose Investment Vehicle.  Oh dear.

The choice of these letters led to the entire concept of the bailout measures being parodied all over the international media.  Headlines included: “Euro Heat Cooks Up Alphabet Spaghetti” and “Europe Saved by a SPIV?” to name a few.

It led me to ponder about why we use acronyms, which I propose is mostly to shorten over-long expressions in common usage.

The use of acronyms is rife within large bureaucracies and organisations, and through their use can give the users a sense of inclusion in a special club where the members speak in a secret code.  Luckily there are tools to assist us to decipher them, such as Acronym Finder that enables the user to punch in the letters they have seen grouped together but were too afraid to ask what they meant.

Now that we know how to unravel acronyms, can they be helpful? Even advantageous?

It can be – let’s say instead of SPIV the Europeans went for Special Asset Finance Enablement (SAFE) or Specified TransEuro Access to Balanced Leveraged Entitlements (STABLE).

Chosen carefully, the right acronym can add power, credibility, weight and vitality.  Choosen poorly, it can generate an entirely different impression.  Feel free to share your own acronym-clangers with us.

Yours in PR,



1 Comment »

  1. bingbing Said:

    Thanks for the link, and you’re right on. SPIV was/is just begging for trouble. Much better the one’s you came up with.

    Was something lost in translation?

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