Genericization Genericide Trademark Brand

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Google? It’s most likely the search. That’s why our answer for most things these days is – Let me Google it. But Google is just one of many search engines available.

On the same lines, what do you think of when you hear Maggi ? You would probably say noodles. But Maggi is one of the instant noodles brands.

So what’s this phenomenon ?

When a product/service becomes so popular, dominant and highly recognizable, it becomes a colloquial term in everyday use. So people associate the brand as representing the entire category, and is used as a common noun. So Google is no longer a search engine, it’s the search. And maggi is not just another instant noodles brand, it’s the name for noodles. This is called Brand Genericization.

So, this is good right ?

So this seems like the epitome of success for any brand, isn’t it ? If my brand is so popular and a common word for the product/service I’m offering, people will surely ask for it & buy it, don’t they ?

Not really. In some cases, this makes the brand lose its unique identity & value, which took years of trust and tonnes of marketing to accomplish. The brand is no longer differentiated from the product and it becomes a synonym. This is called Brand Genericide.

Xerox is one of the prime examples of how Genericide destroys a brand identity. Almost everyone associates xerox with photocopies, but not the copier products & solutions it sells.

Digitally altered photo is often referred as photoshopped, which is actually a product, Adobe Photoshop that pioneered image editing software.

Adidas or Adibas

Additionally, the more generic & popular your brand becomes,so is the number of counterfeit products that resemble/imitate your brand name. Nobody sells a fake Nokia phone these days, but there are countless iPhone clones for sale.

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