VTEA a special needs acronym

Special needs children are associated with a large number of acronyms, both to describe their condition and to identify the different educational opportunities that are available.

One acronym you may not be familiar with is VTEA. That stands for Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association.  It provides therapeutic horseback riding or hippotherapy to children with special needs.  Given the cost of such therapy, there is a constant search for additional funding so it is important that this charity be as visible as possible.

Those who are familiar with the work of VETA know well the extreme satisfaction that children with special needs have when involved in the VTEA program.  In publicizing these programs, how can this ‘brand’ be best presented.  Does the acronym work or is it better to spell out the full name, Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association?

Acronyms As Brands

There are many examples of companies and organizations which have decided to downplay their full name and use an acronym in their marketing efforts.  One of the most venerable is that for IBM, or International Business Machines as it was known even some fifty years ago.  Having made the switch there has been no turning back and the acronym IBM is now the only company identification for many years. 

IBM is not the only company that has ditched a longer name in place of a catchy acronym.  Here are some others to test your acronym skills.

  • 3M
  • CVS
  • ESPN
  • CBS
  • DKNY
  • IKEA
  • fcuk
  • BMW
  • AT&T
  • GEICO
  • QVC
  • MGM

These are taken from a company acronym quiz, where you will find any answers you are not sure about.  Why would so many companies go for acronyms?

Acronyms Are Perfect Brand Hooks

Using an acronym provides much more marketing opportunity than just being a shorter way of identifying the company.  Whereas a company name using words may suggest certain associations, the acronym is often almost a set of gibberish symbols.  It brings with it no particular associations and the company can through time build up the associations that the acronym suggests to the average prospect or customer.. 

The other advantage of an acronym, is that it may well be possible to buy the associated domain.  The traditional company name may present all kinds of problems in choosing which domain would be appropriate.  In many cases the company name is so long that it would produce a very inconvenient domain name for visitors who wish to type in the URL address.

IKEA a great example of a brand hook

An IKEA Store along Alexandra Road in Queensto...
Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps the best example of this acronym approach is IKEA.

What does IKEA stand for?  It is not an acronym derived from some long forgotten complex company name.  In fact it stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.    Ingvar Kamprad was the IKEA founder and he was brought up on a small farm called Elmtaryd close to the small village of Agunnaryd in Sweden.  As you might imagine, IKEA has the various domains associated with that name and this ensures anyone can find the website in any country very rapidly.

Over the years the company has developed a very clear image so that anyone seeing the acronym knows immediately what is on offer.

VTEA may use the brand hook principle

Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association could well use the full name in its publicity, but the VTEA acronym is much more powerful since the associated domain, vtea.ca, does belong to the organization.  The full name may not be clear to some people since it does not highlight that the service is designed largely for children with special needs.

The advantage of the acronym is that with a little effort it can become the simplest way that people refer to this therapeutic riding service. It can also appear relatively quickly as the top ranking in a search for its name.  For that reason, you can expect to be seeing a lot more of the acronym VTEA in the months to come.

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