On a recent trip to Switzerland, Heino Schrader, our head of SAP University Alliances for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told me an amusing story. It seems that our marketing department had chosen an abbreviation for a new product name. Everything was in preparation for the launch – materials, literature, advertising, PR – and everyone was in agreement to go ahead.
One of our firm’s founders heard about this and quickly rejected the idea. It seems that the abbreviation had a negative meaning in English in a particluar context, and that context was quite evident in one critical line of business. A new abbreviation had to be chosen quickly and all documents had to be changed.
Two things amused me about this story. One is that I am a native English speaker, and I would also have not recognized this potential issue. All of our founders are German. Even though they are highly intelligent and gifted people who also speak English with remarkable fluency, I am impressed that they understand our customers’ businesses so well – and we have dozens of lines of business that we cover.
Now I am thinking, we chose the name SAP University Alliances Community. We feel that this is a proper brand to build on, not just for our relationships in higher education, but in providing a forum for connecting and collaborating with professors, students, customers, partners, SAP functional groups and SAP HR, and related associations like our User Groups. What about our ‘UAC’ acronym? Is there another, possibly amusing, interpretation for this abbreviation in use out there?
Finally, here is a little riddle. What do you suppose is the other thing that amused me about this story? Hint: that one of the founders of our firm was so concerned about the interpretation of an acronym.