The Communicator’s Guide to ...


It’s weird.

We’re in the business of communications. You would think that we’d be OK with deploying full words.

But that’s not how we roll.

I put out a call to arms across the Agency for acronyms that surface on a regular basis.

The list below doesn’t pretend to capture every single acronym. Still, it should give you a running start in deciphering the many letter jumbles that come our way. Also worth noting that some acronyms cross over into the digital sphere and other professions. Why should we have all the fun?

I’ve added my comment to some.

Feel free to print out this guide for easy access.


Acronyms in Communications

AOR (Agency of Record)

AVE (Advertising Value Equivalency)  Our version of the cockroach; no matter how hard we try, we can’t kill it.

BB (Briefing Book)

B2B (Business to Business)

B2C (Business to Consumer)

BD (Business Development)

BFD (Breakfast for Dinner)  I slipped this one in. If this communications thing didn’t work out, I’d start a food truck called “BFD.”

BR (Bounce Rate)

BU (Business Unit)

COB (Close of Business)  Clients seem to get a lot of mileage out of this.

COC (Code of Contact)

CPM (Cost per Million)

CPA (Cost per Acquisition)

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

CPC (Cost per Click)

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

CTA (Call to Action)

DA (Domain Authority)

EIC (Editor-in-Chief)

EOD (End of Day)

EOM (End of Month)

ESG (Environment, Social, Governance)

FWIW (For What It’s Worth)  I had never heard of this one until highlighted by some of our younger staff. (FWIW, I’m a quick study.)

GA (Google Analytics)

HA (Hoffman AgencyHasn’t jumped the chasm yet.

IMC (Integrated Marketing Campaign)

IMO (In My Opinion)

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)

KIV (Keep in View)

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

LIBTF (Life Is Better Than Fiction)  I invented this one. Still waiting to get traction.

LOA (Letter of Agreement)

OKR (Objectives and Key Results)

OOO (Out of Office)  No matter how many times I see this one, it still looks off.

OTR (Off-the-Record)

OTS (Opportunities to See)

NIM (News in Brief)

PA (Page Authority)

PD (Politely Decline)  I know. Doesn’t exactly sound polite.

PDQ (Pretty Damn Quickly)  Another new one to me, but I plan to make good use of it.

PO (Purchase Order)

NOB (Not on Brand)  Often uttered when the creativity scares the decision maker.

PPC (Pay per Click)

POV (Point of View)

QBR (Quarterly Business Review)

RFI (Request for Information)

RFP (Request for Proposal)

ROI (Return on Investment)

RSS (Real Simple Syndication)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

SOV (Share of Voice)

SOW (Statement of Work)

SME (Subject Matter Expert)

SMT (Satellite Media Tour)

SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats)

UI (User Interface)

UX (User Experience)

UMV (Unique Monthly Visitors)

VTR (View-through Rate)

WIP (Work in Progress)  This acronym actually sounds like the concept particularly when the client calls for a WIP meeting.

WOM (Word of Mouth)

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)

… And the List Goes On

If you feel we’ve missed a mission-critical acronym, send it my way. If I receive a good number of examples, I will update the post.

I hope you didn’t find this post TL;DR (too long; didn’t read).

P.S. I want to thank the following folks who contributed to this post: Alessandra Tinio, Nicolas Chan, Lisa Tao, Kathy Kwok, Frank Zhang, Lydia Lau, Marc Sparrow, Shingo Nomura, Miranda Lee, Pouneh Lechner, Kelly Stone, Elisa Zallio, Chris Owen, Patrizia Heun, Mark Pinsent, Sarah Collins, Eric Van Damme, Steve Jursa, Kali Myrick.




  • Kevin Petschow

    Thanks for sharing, Lou. I can offer the following acronyms that you and your team get from us on a regular basis:
    RCS = Rich Communications Service
    IoT = Internet of Things
    CPaaS = Communications Platform as a Service

    Enjoy our Geek speak. Onward and upward. Best, Kevin

  • Jeremy Schultz

    I work at a large tech co and we have -several- large databases of acronyms…it gets out of hand. We give future products codenames, and then there’s usually an acronym for each codename! Rather than add to your database, I’ll offer a mere anecdote. I tried a few times to slip “FTW” — for the win — into internal news stories, and my boss never got it. But it was worth it for the laughs every time I tried to explain it. Acronyms FTW!


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