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?
We did our own “Bing it On”… Sorry Bing.
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!
The basic definition of a logo (which is actually an abbreviation of the word ‘logotype’) is known as a graphic mark, emblem or a symbol used to aid and promote instant public recognition. All sorts of businesses, products and organisations commonly use logos currently. The logo helps create and boost a brand based around the business or organisation, and usually reflects the brand ethics and what the organisation stands for. Logos are also usually trademarked in order to avoid copies and brand convolution.
Logos are arguably the most important part of a brand’s image, as it is usually the first image that comes to mind when consumers think of the business or product. However, the fact that logos are such an important facet of a business or organisation does add pressure to creating the logo. It needs to be original, eye-catching, and represent all factors of your brand fully. There are so many examples of bad logos or logos that somewhat missed the mark (London 2012 Olympics anyone?), and you certainly don’t want to make your logo busy enough that consumers can mistake it for anything unintended.
Here at Bright Yellow Creative, we love logos and discovering the evolution and history behind their creation. The three of us have therefore come up with three of our absolute favourite logo designs to give you effective examples of how logos really work!
Emma, Digital Brand Manager
I love the Amazon logo, not only because it uses our favourite colour of yellow but because of elements that make up the logo.
It’s such a simple and clean design, but I love the fact that the arrow detail is actually showing that Amazon provide everything from A to Z, as well as having a curve that looks like a smile. This detail apparently represents the smile left on a customers face (!), but I like to think it is just gives the feeling of happiness, which is important for any retail business, online or offline.
This famous arrow was incorporated in 2000, brilliantly replacing the simple yellow line that was featured underneath the word previously. This feature was added to symbolise how a consumer could truly find everything on Amazon.com. The arrow / smile is particularly effective as it is recognizable today on its own, without the wording supplementing it, which really reflects how bold and beneficial this has been to their Amazon brand.
Amazon as a company was established in 1994, and first went online in 1995. The company quickly expanded, becoming one of the biggest online retailers today. And, throughout Amazon’s continued growth and domination of the online retail market, they have kept this simple but effective logo relatively the same. This really shows how great a design it actually is.
Yasmin, Assistant Brand Manager
I love the Coca-Cola logo, as it is definitely one of the most recognisable brands of all time, sold all around the world.
Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia, and since then the product, brand and logo have developed massively. The first logo looked really basic, consisting of capitals spelling out the words, which lasted a year until they reinvented the logo in 1887 to look similar to the one we know and recognise today. This famous script is called Spencerian, although in this early version the script would often vary depending on the application.
Since then, the Coca-Cola logo hasn’t experienced a drastic change, and has stayed consistent to the attractive swirled font. The next major change included the incorporation of the famous white wave, which has stayed with the logo since 1969. The wave was first known as the ‘Dynamic Ribbon Device’, and was based on reflecting the unique contour of their bottles.
The evolution of Coca-Cola to simply being known as Coke was also a change based on their logo design. In the 1960s, the word Coke made a slight appearance in an advertising campaign called “Things Go Better With Coke”. However, the generation of Coke as the used logo on bottles and cans wasn’t fully incorporated until 1985-87. This seems to be in relation to the creation of Diet Coke, which was invented in 1982, and uses the same style and font for the word ‘Coke’ as the one used for Coca-Cola around this time.
After 1987, Coca-Cola returned to its traditional name and swirled logo, although the brand utilised the word Coke underneath their traditional logo until 2002. After this, they finally dropped the word ‘Coke’ from the logo, returning to the uniquely refreshing design we appreciate today.
Carly, Assistant Brand Manager
My favourite logo has to be the Nike ‘Swoosh’, not only for the simplicity of the design, which is why it has become so well-known, but for the story behind it.
The founder Phil Knight was supplementing his income from “Blue Ribbon Sports Inc” (the name of the company before it became Nike), which was started in 1960, by teaching an accounting class at Portland State University. On his way to a meeting regarding the company, he came across a graphic design student in the hallway working on an assignment and asked her if she’d design artwork for the meeting. After this, in 1971, he asked her to design a shoe stripe for Nike that suggested movement, and the ‘swoosh’ was one of her design ideas.
The ‘swoosh’ is said to replicate the wing of the Greek Goddess of Victory as pictured to the left. Knight said that the ‘swoosh’ didn’t capture his imagination but as his time was running low he grabbed the ‘swoosh’ design and said: “I don’t love it, but it will grow on me.” The designer was only paid $35 for her original design, although, due to the massive rise of Nike and the brand’s renowned ‘swoosh’, she has since been paid greatly in company stocks.
Since the first ‘swoosh’ of 1971, where the word Nike was placed over the ‘swoosh’, they have revamped twice. Once in 1978, when they bolded and capitalised the word Nike, and placed it on top of the ‘swoosh’. And finally in 1995, they dropped the word Nike from their logo altogether, showing the strength of the ‘swoosh’ design that we all know and recognise today. It is simple, but a brilliantly effective logo that truly transformed Nike as a company.
So, what makes a good logo?
We believe that in creating a logo you should stick to a few basic rules.
Firstly, the logo must be simple. There is nothing worse than a busy logo, with so much going on that it makes it difficult for a consumer’s eye to focus on anything. It can be tempting to try and put every good idea into your logo, but we must stress that this would cause your target consumer to glaze over the image and not take any of it in. The best, and most recognisable, logos are the simple ones. This also leads to allowing your logo to become timeless, and not feel affected by any current trends or modern styles.
The third, and final, point is that your logo should be appropriate. When creating your logo, we advise that you sit down and think about your business’ values and ethics, and what you would like to represent as a brand. Then, when you come up with an image that you’d like to project to consumers, stick to it! Try and convey your brand in the simplest way possible, and use appropriate colours, images or fonts to represent yourself effectively.
What do you think about logos, and what are your favourite examples?
Has this inspired you to get creative with, or think differently about, yours?