Business Naming Shortcuts: the Right “Thing to Do”?

Business names that were created prior to the Internet becoming as pervasive as it is now sometimes struggle with their name because their original name is just too long to be used as a domain name.

I believe that’s why we’ve seem many of these traditional marketers using abbreviated names – nick names or a string of initials – in their promotions recently. Otherwize, I don’t see why they’d mess with their name’s equity.

Most recently observed company to take this course of action: American Family Insurance.

Now first of all, even 15 years ago that name was a mouthful. But over time, and especially with the on-going use of the American Family Insurance jingle, the name has become well-known and well-appreciated. But they adopted a short domain name – AmFam – and have begun using that name as well as the long name in their advertising.

I think that just leads to confusion and dilutes the brand.

Even in the environment of texting and twittering I believe the longer, well-known and well-respected American Family Insurance name stands for something they are in danger of losing if they become known as AmFam. That loss is their heritage and their image of a responsible and well-respected insurance company. I personally look for stability and traditional values from my financial services, especially in light of the recent AIG and banking disasters. WaMo didn’t do much for Washington Mutual, did it?

Let me know if your agree or not with my admittedly reactionary response to this nick name approach to being “up-to-date”. Leave your comment below.

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