Using Well Branded Text Messages

Yes, well branded text messages are a critical expression of your brand’s attributes. When 98% of texts are opened and read within 5 seconds, this technology has become a vital yet delicate marketing tool. Don’t take my word for the growing use of this medium in business. Take a look at this 2014 list of 100 brands that use well branded text messages to communicate with customers… it is already 2 years old!

First: The Ground Rules

Well branded text messages must be calculated, precise and on-point.

Some of you may have cringed at the concept of sending a text to your customer base. Texting is often highly personal and informal. Consequently, an unwanted text feels invasive. Inappropriate. Beyond mere annoyance. How many of you immediately thought of the random text offering for “Free Sunglasses” surrounded by 500 emoji? (That was exactly a friend’s response when I mentioned this strategy).

To be clear: I do NOT condone spam (unsolicited messages) when I talk about well branded text messages. I’m writing about branding messages for those clients who have opted-in for text communication.

This is, essentially, the first rule: only message those who opt-in. This creates an audience that wants to hear from you. In fact, you may already be one of those customers for someone else: do you receive an alert from your doctor or pharmacy when a prescription is ready, or when it’s time for a flu shot? You, the customer, “opted-in” by requesting those messages, and, if you’re like me, you appreciate them.

Do you see the benefit? With an opt-in audience, you have created the perfect target audience. They will listen. They will read. They are loyal. The delicacy? A bad series of text messages will alienate them quickly.Sean McDonald, CEO of MOBIT Technologies, our preferred vendor that provides texting services, offers a few additional ground rules for implementing the strategy. These include:

  1. Don’t spam and DON’T send after hours (in fact, you might be violating various laws if you do).
  2. Have a Call to Action.
  3. Incentivise the Call to Action and offer value.
  4. Make it easy for customers to opt-out of the service.

Next: How To Build Your Brand Voice

How does branding fit into the world of text messages? As part of your business communication, text messages, similar to other avenues, must consider your visual and verbal identities. Some considerations include:

  • Remain consistent with your Brand Voice! If your brand has an informal tone, be careful to limit the informality of a text, which should remain succinct and clear. Too many LOL’s or smiley faces may be too much of a departure from your normal communication style. Remember, you are texting customers, not BFF’s.Have you ever had a text message interpreted exactly the opposite way you intended? Maybe you weren’t clear enough! Being succinct should never come at the cost of clarity. Have your copywriter assist writing (and proofing!) those messages to ensure consistency and a distinct personality.
  • Brevity is the art of wit, and a well branded text message can be a masterpiece. It isn’t often that a person enjoys reading a text so long that it spans multiple phone screens!
  • How does your message incorporate your Visual Identity?
    If you want to include video or rich-text imagery, this will impact the type of servicing you need, either: Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) or Short Message Service (SMS). Once you have a visual identity planned and which elements will go into text messaging, then you can select an appropriate service provider.
  • Wait, can I use emojis?
    Before you spend money for a custom-built branded emoji, reception of this may vary based upon your target audience. As this article notes, your attempt at authentic relation to the consumer may be interpreted as patronizing.
  • How do you connect the text with the rest of your brand identity and personality?
    Once a customer has opted in, they probably aren’t going to be saving your phone number. Shocking, right? This means that you should find a unique and on-brand approach to reminding them that it is you, or your business, every time you text them!

Text messaging has grown into a primary method of marketing communication, one that pays far greater dividends than even email marketing.

However, don’t forget that branding those text messages is a critical part of communication, so that you maintain and build on the perception that you want your clients to have of your business.


Here’s is a list of common text abbreviations, do you know them all?


2G2BT – Too good to be true
404 – I don’t know

AAF – As a matter of fact
AAK – Asleep at keyboard
AAP – Always a pleasure
AAR – At any rate
ADDY – Address
AEAP – As early as possible
AFK – Away from keyboard
AIGHT – Alright
AKA – Also known as
AML – All my love
AOTA – All of the above
ASAP – As soon as possible
A/S/L – Age/sex/location
ATM – At the moment
AYSOS – Are you stupid or something

B/F – Boyfriend
B4 – Before
B4N – Bye for now
BAK – Back at keyboard
BAU – Business as usual
BB – Be back
BBL – Be back later
BBS – Be back soon
BC – Because
BCOS – Because
BF – Best friend
BFN – Bye for now
BGWM – Be gentle with me
BLNT – Better luck next time
BM&Y – Between me and you
BOL – Best of luck
BRB – Be right back
BRT – Be right there
BTDT – Been there, done that
BTW – By the way

CMON – Come on
COB – Close of business
COS – Because
CU – See you
CUA – See you around
CUL – See you later
CUL8R – See you later

D/L – Download
DL – Download
DEGT – Don’t even go there
DIKU – Do I know you?
DQMOT – Don’t quote me on this
DTS – Don’t think so
DV8 – Deviate

EG – Evil grin
ENUF – Enough
EOD – End of day
EVA – Ever
EZY – Easy

F2F – Face to face
F2T – Free to talk?
FBM – Fine by me
FITB – Fill in the blank
FRT – For real though
FWIW – For what it’s worth
FYEO – For your eyes only
FYI – For your information

G/F – Girlfriend
G2CU – Good to see you
G2G – Got to go
G2R – Got to run
GAL – Get a life
GB – Goodbye
GBU – God bless you
GFI – Go for it
GL – Good luck
GL/HF – Good luck, have fun
GMTA – Great minds think alike
GOI – Get over it
GR8 – Great
GTG – Got to go

H&K – Hugs & kisses
h3CUS – Hope to see you soon
H8 – Hate
HAGN – Have a good night
HAGO – Have a good one
HAND – Have a nice day
HF – Have fun
HRU – How are you?
HTH – Hope this helps

IB I’m back
ICBW – It could be worse
IDK – I don’t know
IDTS – I don’t think so
IDUNNO – I don’t know
IG2R – I got to run
ILBL8 – I’ll be late
ILU – I love you
ILY – I love you
IM – Instant message
IMHO – In my humble opinion
IMNSHO – In my not so humble opinion
IMO – In my opinion
IMS – I am sorry
IOW – In other words
IRL – In real life
IYO – In your opinion
IYSS – If you say so

JAC – Just a sec
JIC – Just in case
JJA – Just joking around
JK – Just kidding
JMO – Just my opinion
JP – Just playing

k/b – Keyboard
KISS – Keep it simple, stupid
KIT – Keep in touch
KNIM – Know what I mean?

L8R – Later
LD – Later, dude / Long distance
LMAO – Laughing my a** off
LOL – Laughing out loud
LTNS – Long time no see
LYLAS – Love you like a sis

M8 – Mate
MorF – Male or female?
MoS – Mother over shoulder
MSG – Message
MTF – More to follow
MTFBWU – May the force be with you
MUSM – Miss you so much
MYOB – Mind your own business

n00b – Newbie
N1 – Nice one
NBD – No big deal
NE – Any
NE1 – Anyone
NFM – None for me / Not for me
NIMBY – Not in my back yard
NLT – No later than
NM – Nothing much / Never mind
NMHN – ot much here
NO1 – No one
NOYB – None of your business
NP – No problem
NVM – Never mind
NW – No way

OIC – Oh, I see
OMG – Oh my God
OMW – On my way
OO – Over and out
OOH – Out of here
OOTD – One of these days
OTL – Out to lunch
OTOH – On the other hand
OTTO – ver the top
OTW – Off to work
OVA – Over

PCM – Please call me
PDQ – Pretty darn quick
PLS – Please
PLZ – Please
PM – Private Message
POS – Parent over shoulder
PPL – People
PROLLY – Probably
PRT – Party
PRW – People/parents are watching

QT – Cutie

RL – Real life
RP – Role play
RME – Rolling my eyes
ROFL – Rolling on floor laughing
ROTFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
ROTFLUTS – Rolling on the floor laughing unable to speak
RSN – Real soon now
RUOK – Are you okay?

SMHID – Scratching my head in disbelief
SNAFU – Situation normal all fouled up
SO – Significant other
SPK – Speak
SPST – Same place, same time
SRY – Sorry
SS – So sorry
SSDD – Same stuff, different day
SSINF – So stupid it’s not funny
STR8 – Straight
SUL – See you later
SUP – What’s up?
SYL – See you later

TAFN – That’s all for now
TBC – To be continued
TBD – To be determined
TBH – To be honest
TC – Take care
TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday
THX – Thanks
THNX – Thanks
THNQ – Thank-you
TLK2UL8R – Talk to you later
TMB – Text me back
TMI – Too much information
TMOT – Trust me on this
TMWFI – Take my word for it
TTFN – Ta ta for now
TTYL – Talk to you later
TTYS – Talk to you soon
TU – Thank you
TY – Thank you
TYT – Take your time
TYVM – Thank you very much

UGTBK – You’ve got to be kidding
UW – You’re welcome

VM – Voice mail
VSF – Very sad face

WAM – Wait a minute
WAN2TLK – Want to talk
WAYF – Where are you from?
W/B – Write back
WB – Welcome back
WC – Who cares
WCA – Who cares anyway
WDYK – What do you know
WK – Week
WKD – Weekend
WTG – Way to go
WTH – What the heck?
WU? – What’s up?
WUCIWUG – What you see is what you get
WUF? – Where you from?
WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get

X – Kiss
XLNT – Excellent

YBS – You’ll be sorry
YCMU – You crack me up
YGBKM – You’ve got to be kidding me
YR – Yeah right
YW – You’re welcome

ZZZZ – Sleeping (or bored)

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