Top naming expert and pal Steve Rivkin recently pointed out that one-word titles are all the rage these days. Television shows are called Glee, Homeland, Scandal, Survivor. While some earlier shows were also one word (Dallas), the number of these single titles is growing rapidly. He notes that given our shorter and shorter attention spans, this is understandable. However, is there a downside to this trend in selling?
Twitter and texting now have many of us writing (and saying) things like OMG, LOL, KK and R U. Last evening a new one came my way. I had just done something that my 17 year old step daughter thought was wonderful and she said what sounded to me like “Eely.” I thought she was clearing her throat. When I didn’t respond, she repeated, “Eely.” Apparently, as she ever-so-patiently explained, that means “I love you" (ILY). On the one hand, I loved hearing that (what parent of a teenager wouldn’t?). On the other, when we shrink communication to one word acronyms, are we also shrinking the emotion and meaning supposedly being communicated in what we are saying?
Acronyms have their place (NASA, SEO, USA, DKNY, FYI). They serve as a very useful type of communication shorthand, but, carried to an extreme, they can become mindless and meaningless. It’s like a woman whose every article of clothing has different designer initials on it: shoes, bag, skirt, blouse, jacket, jewelry. She’s a walking Instagram of labels. When she appears, you can’t help but ask yourself if she is having an identity crisis! There’s no “there” there.
Acronyms are common to every field and when you present to others what you do, how you do it, the value you offer, you, of course will define any unknown to your listener. But you should also expand on them to truly engage the buyer so that he gets more excited about what you are saying. For example, when you say something like “Our MVG process provides instant ITR for you which you can check on our WSRs which ultimately increases your ROI,” your listener’s left brain hears the words and intellectually understands the acronyms, but his right brain is not necessarily equally engaged because he doesn’t really “see” MVG, WSR and ROI. When you add, “For example with this software, your marketing team will be able to check in real time how products are moving, compare those numbers to the previous week’s sales which will allow them to make inventory changes quickly, which can increase your sales by as much as 10%,” the right brain can now visualize and appreciate more the value of what you are selling.
What Are You Serving to Clients?
Look at your presentations. Reflect on your sales conversations in person, on the phone, in emails. Have you squeezed all the life and color out of what you say with too many acronyms or, do you add rich language, examples, metaphors, and analogies to really excite listeners and inspire them to act?
Click here for the full Naming Newsletter article by Steve Rivkin
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