Some blame the internet for the widespread usage of brand names used in our everyday language. However, the usage of brand names as everyday terms, verbs and nouns is nothing new. There are a lot of brands that we all use in everyday conversation without thinking about it, or perhaps without even realising it’s a brand.
The fact that so many brands can go basically unnoticed in our modern language and accepted lexicon definitely signifies how powerful they have become. However, it is uncertain whether a brand name becoming an everyday term is a good or bad thing.
Many claim that obviously it is the utmost praise for that brand, as it has now become a representative and synonymous for that particular product. However, there are certainly downsides, especially when you consider that colloquialising brand names causes the brand to lose its whole identity.
Benefits of Verbalising Brands
There is no disputing the fact that brands still aspire to become a common term, verb or noun. For example, many online websites, services and social media crave the Google effect, aiming mainly to become verbalised in that way.
One well-known example of an online branded service that certainly aspired to the Google effect is rival search engine Bing. Microsoft brought out Bing in 2009, and started attempting to gain the success and notoriety of Google. Google has become synonymous with online search engines, and is the biggest used.
Bing was launched with the intention to become a verb in the way that Google has. Microsoft CEO and Bing creator, Steve Ballmer, claimed they named Bing as such because it is an easy term to use for searching. He claimed that people would naturally say “Bing it”, in the same way of the common “Google it”. Microsoft launched a whole advertising and marketing campaign revolving around the term, and trying to get it colloquialised. Well… we all know how well that turned out.
However, Bing’s attempt does signify the majority of brand aspirations towards verbalising their brand, or having their brand become a noun. Simply because the branded product or service would gain more recognition from becoming an everyday term. Also, what greater public acknowledgement than for your brand to become synonymous with that particular product or service?
Cons of Brand Colloquialisation
Although we praise the verbalisation of brand names as everyday terms, and can see the positives in a Google effect, there are no denying the cons. Also, is it really all that good for a brand to become synonymous with a product or service?
If you think of many of the brands that have become common nouns, the majority of people forget that the term is an actual branded name. Becoming a noun or verb does force the brand into losing their individual brand identity, which they must have worked so hard to create initially. This means that their brand ultimately loses all meaning and becomes generalised.
Consequently, the most disappointing result of brands becoming generalised is that the majority of people don’t actually use the brand they are claiming to use. If we think of the Sellotape example: how many of us are simply purchasing the cheaper alternate sticky tape, but still calling it Sellotape?
A few examples of brands that have become common nouns are: Hoover, Chapstick, Tupperware and Post-Its. In the office, we are all agreed that, despite using these terms frequently, we don’t necessarily use those specific products. However, does this really impact negatively on their success all that much?
Also, there are many brands that are commonly used in households, that haven’t become nouns or verbalised at all. It is inexplicable to understand how certain products and services become colloquial terms, while others don’t, but achieve similar success.
If you consider the term Hoover – it is widely used as a term for vacuuming, whereas the success of alternate vacuuming products has signified that many actually no longer use the Hoover. Conversely, the creator of Dyson, James Dyson, has stated several times that his main goal and ambition is to get Dyson verbalised. Dyson has certainly become a massively successful brand of vacuums, although many are using his product and still calling it Hoovering.
Brand Power and Future Aspiration
Considering that the goal for many widely known brands is to become verbalised or a noun does suggest that the pros for becoming a colloquialised brand far outweighs the cons. Also, the brands that have become everyday terms are the most successful, and have gained that success previously, whether people are currently using them in conversation without buying the products, or not. They are still widespread, renowned, and commonly acknowledged.
The notoriety of these brands makes them known all around the world, despite language barriers, which certainly emphasises the power of brands. No matter your stance on whether colloquialising brands is a good or bad thing, there is no denying that the ability to connect languages and countries is highly powerful. Branding is simply one of the most renowned and powerful advertising and marketing tools of all time.
Here at Bright Yellow Creative, we have been working out the brand names that we use in our everyday language. The realisations are definitely surprising! There are so many brand names that we use so commonly, it is strange to remember that they actually only should connote to that one brand. Try and think of brand names that you use in regular conversations – there are more than you first think!
While you’re thinking of your favourite, well-known brands, take a look at our article about logos here, and how important they are in creating and enforcing a brand!
Bright Yellow Creative are pros at all things branding, and digital marketing. Check out our services here for how we can create a bespoke brand identity for your business!