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.