When one looks around and sees different advertising and marketing agencies, you can see something very clear: our group likes initials.
W+K. MS&L. GS&P. IPG. WPP. GH. BBDO. JWT. BFG9000. CP+B. DDB.
Just to name a few.
Now, news has come out that DraftFCB is thinking of dropping "Draft" from the name.
Why the love for initials?
We believe that there are several reasons why initials are growing in popularity.
First, in many cases, the initials of a company are easier to remember than the entire name. We are sure that many of you could get Wieden+Kennedy, but what about Manning, Salvage and Lee? Or Gooby, Silverstein and Partners? Or J. Walter Thompson? Or Dane Doyle and Bernbach? An agency can live on without its founders or principals without having to change the name. And, if any of the partners leave, like Crispin Porter + Bogusky, shrinking it down to CP+B can avoid the awkward conversation with new clients.
Second, companies might switch to initials to sound impressive, and therefore probably successful. Initials can give off an air of accomplishment and longevity, for reasons like we stated above. They can make a new company seem old, or an old company look modern.
Third, it could deal with psychology. When doing research for this post, we stumbled onto a theory called the "name-letter effect." The theory states that people are drawn to initials that are commonly found in their own names. So, if you are vice president of marketing, John Taylor, and you needed an agency, JWT would be near the top of your list.
Yes, we thought it was a little odd too, until we started looking.
Here are two articles from Brand Republic, announcing hires and wins.
"Virgin Media Hires Wunderman to business account."
"DKLW Lowe Hires David O'Hanlon to lead Persil Planning."
So maybe, based on DraftFCB's research, its name could be holding it back from recruiting great talent, or getting into business meetings.
If that's the case, initial away.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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