Becoming A Household Name

by | Apr 13, 2017 | 0 comments

“Google it.” “I need a Kleenex.” “Put a Band-Aid on it.” or down here in the south, every soda pop is a “Coke.”

These are only a few of the examples of brand names that we use in our everyday vocabulary. When people need a Kleenex, they actually mean they need a tissue, but since the Kleenex brand is really popular, we started calling the brand name with the item itself.

It’s every brand’s dream for their product, service, or whatever it may be to become so popular it replaces the name of the original item. In this post, we’ll see four brands that switched product brands into verbs that replaced the generic item name, and how it was done.

Verbification. Ok. What is that?

Anthimeria is a rhetorical term for what we’re discussing now.: It’s the linguistic term for when we use one component of speech while another part of a speech, like a noun for a verb. When it comes to branded terms or phrases, there isn’t an specific formula why some brands become “verbified” and others don’t. For instance, why Band Aid been “verbified,” but Curad hasn’t?

Lots of brands cracked the code for becoming a household name (or verb), and we’re going to see into how exactly we think a couple of technology brands accomplished that feat in this article.

Four Brands That Became Product Names

1) YouTube

What it Replaced:

Video streaming giant YouTube replaced phrases like “search for a video” or “watch online video.”

Example of how it is used in a sentence:

“You should YouTube last weeks Saturday Night Live skits, Alec Baldwin was hilarious in it.”

Here is why it’s gotten so catchy:

A huge reason why YouTube’s widespread popularity is it was pretty much the first video hosting sites ever founded, and after Google purchased it in 2006, it grew fast, really fast. Today, YouTube has over 1 billion users worldwide, and it makes up about more than 15% of internet traffic globally.

YouTube has been popular over 10 years with different innovative advertising methods. Because YouTube is owned by Google, the largest and most popular internet search engine in the world, it has the benefit of being among number 1 in searches when using Google to search for videos. Take a look: When you search on Google for “cleaning videos,” YouTube is usually the first search result:

Instead of just advertising YouTube online and in social media platforms, in the past few years, YouTube started advertising video creators with billboards, TV ads, and printed advertising to broaden its reach.

Another factor that’s played a part in YouTube’s popularity cord cutting from Cable and Satellite TV subscriptions, especially among more youthful video viewers. Now that video content is readily available for free online, more viewers are going to sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu to watch videos, Television shows, and movies they enjoy.

Takeaway for Marketers:

Mix up advertising & marketing strategies to keep exposing your brand to new audiences. A healthy mixture of advertising on social media platforms, search engines, and print publications may help generate more interest and recognition of your brand.

2) Photoshop

What it Replaced:

What it Replaced:

{Adobe Photoshop the terms related to photo editing and manipulation.

How it is used in a sentence:

“That picture of Cindy Crawford was Photoshopped.”

Why did it catch on:

Just like YouTube, Adobe Photoshop was among the first digital photo editing software of its kind when it came about in 1990. Because it was pretty much first on the scene, other photo editing software created afterwards were judged against Photoshop, which helps with word-of-mouth recognition further.

Additionally, as other Adobe software were coming out, those products were integrated seamlessly with Photoshop, which made it easier for designers and visual content creators to accomplish their jobs inside the Adobe Creative Suite of products. It’s simpler to use software that works along side with others you need for your task, instead of piecing together something that requires multiple applications or software and types of files to work together.

Takeaway for Marketers:

Make it easier for your market to get stuff done through the workday. You could integrate with bigger companies, social media platforms or APIs to make customers’ lives less complicated. It may be something as easy as partnering with a video hosting company to embed high-quality videos in blogs post and articles, or offering easy links to embed social media sharing buttons on your site that could make the difference in your brand’s stickiness and popularity.

3) Google

What it Replaced:

Google replaced generic terms for search enginess and searching the internet for information.

How it is used in a sentence:

“Just Google it.”

Why did it catch on:

Unlike Photoshop and YouTube, Google wasn’t first of its kind. Numerous other search engines were already available, for examples are Yahoo! Search, Ask Jeeves, and AltaVista, which Google Search has since dominated.

Its simple homepage is easy to navigate and doesn’t bombard us with tons of ads or pictures. Below is a comparison of Google and Yahoo! search home pages and you will see what we mean. Now which site would you choose to search the web?

Google’s algorithm arguably has superior results for searchers with the aid of different ranking tools and signals. Because search engine optimization (SEO) is a must-have component of any content online marketing strategy, more marketing experts want to get content to rank in Google Search. This helps searchers find the info they’re looking for quicker when brands optimize website content regarding to how people look for information.

Like other search engines, Google built an array of complementary applications and services, for example Gmail, Google Maps, and others. Google also ensured to accomplish it right and release a successful rollout of the newer products after its technology had been totally nailed. Google scaled when it was ready, which led to great items people loved to use and share with their friends.

Takeaway for Marketers:

Two lessons marketers may implement from Google? Style a straightforward, easy-to-navigate website, and don’t begin scaling up prematurely. The second piece of advice, don’t grow too fast if your brand begins expanding its scope. In 2011, the Startup Genome Report identified premature scaling was one of the primary predictors of startups failing, so ensure that your primary product — software, program, products, or advising — is perfected before you begin growing your business further.

4) Skype

What it Replaced:

How it is used in a sentence:

“Skype me when you’re in Australia.”

Why did it catch on:

Probably the most appealing areas of Skype is how affordable it makes an important thing that we like to do, make phone calls. Skype removed the need for those old calling cards or international phones — with one app, Skype made calling cheaper and video phone calls easier.

A less scientific reason behind Skype’s success may be the name — it’s catchy and simple to say. Let’s face it, “make a video call” or “call somebody internationally” are a mouthful to say, Skype has the benefit of having a short, pithy brand name that’s easier to say compared to the generic term. Shorter names are also easier to remember,most likely helped Skype gain a foothold in the crowded market of messaging apps.

Takeaway for Marketers:

Marketers can learn from Skype that it’s vital that you have a clear value proposition for your brand’s service or product. If your brand makes something cheaper, much easier, or more efficient for people, ensure that your audience is aware of it so they can start using it. Make the value of your product obvious and easily understood in every messaging, from your site to your social media posts.

Everyone Really wants to Be Popular

There are varied opinions on if brands becoming verbs is good or bad for business. There’s potential risk for the terms becoming generic after a while, or for product copyright to end up being infringed upon. Even Google warns against using the trademark term as a noun or a verb on its website. But isn’t all press good press?

We’re not saying in the event that you follow Google or Skype’s example, your company’s brand will become the next big verb. Let’s face it — that’s pretty uncommon, and it’s especially challenging unless your brand is the first of its kind in a specific industry. For the present time, until your brand turns into the next big thing, try a few of the strategies that made these brands so successful for better brand visibility and recognition.

Do you have some brand names in your vocabulary? We would love to see them. Tell us in the comments below.

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