What’s in a Brand Name?
Happy Monday, everyone!
We are business owners, and as such, we do our very best to protect our brands and trademarks. It’s what identifies us and makes us unique, setting us apart from the crowd. We nurture and protect our brands and hope that they become household names. This is why there are commercial insurance coverages for errors and omissions, libel and slander, and even accidental copyright infringement. It happens, and any business owner must be prepared for it.
But what happens when our brands become such a household name, so synonymous with the products and services we sell, that they become a generic part of our collective vocabulary? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does it really mean anything, anymore? Let’s ponder the question as we toast a pop tart, fasten the velcro straps on our shoes, grab a kleenex and xerox our sales reports.
There are two schools of thought on the subject. On one hand, Apple has benefited greatly from all MP3 players being collectively known as “iPods” to to the general public with purchasing power. iPod is a brand readily associated with quality, workmanship and trendy lifestyle, so having its name on the mind of everyone looking to purchase an MP3 player definitely doesn’t hurt.
On the other hand, Band-Aid has been fighting a phenomenon known as “brand erosion” for years. When everything is a “bandaid”, one sterile bandage strip is as good as another, right? Rest assured, Band-Aid isn’t taking it lying down and is determined to prove otherwise. The same thing goes for drinking a coke (Coca-Cola), writing on a post-it note (3M) and enjoying a popsicle (Unilever).
Adobe sits somewhere comfortably in the middle with its “Photoshop” brand. Adobe Photoshop has seated itself as the de-facto standard of photo editing software, and professional graphic designers and hobbyist photographers alike demand the genuine article. Still, Adobe is adament in educating the computing public that the word “photoshop” is not a verb, though it remains an unconscious product endorsement to the general public.
But is it a lot of worry over nothing? Can a brand really become so flippantly used, so commonplace that we easily forget where it came from? Though it may seem like an unlikely occurrence, it happens (and HAS happened!) more often than you’d imagine, and it can cause serious misrepresentation of a company’s hard-earned brand when it becomes associated with just anything else.
Just ask Hormel Foods about Spam.
Do your kids play with trampolines, jungle gyms or yo-yos? Do you wrap food products in cellophane? Do you eat granola or granola bars for breakfast? Do you take asprin for your headache? Do you ride the escalator at the mall or the airport? What about during hurricanes? Do you have an old-fashioned kerosene lantern on standby in case of a power outage?
Yep. These are all words that are part of our daily lexicon that were once powerful (and some, not so powerful) brands. After all. Nobody thinks of B.F. Goodrich anymore when they think of the zipper.
But whether your brand becomes a household name or not (and we hope it does), we’ll be here to help keep you on your feet and your business running smoothly and successfully no matter what comes your way.
First Baldwin Insurance