Over time some brand names are so well established in our daily lives that they become action verbs for things we do rather than proper names for things we use. For example, Xerox is not just a company, it’s a procedure for duplicating paper documents and Google is not just a search engine, it’s the action we take to find information. Pop Tarts and Chap Stick are registered trademarks for specific products, but they’ve evolved into catch-all for toaster pastries and lip balm, respectively.
How do certain companies achieve a level of recognition so great and widespread that their products or services become household names? While Bing is also a popular search engine, you don’t hear anyone say, “Oh, I Binged that and found out.” And regardless of what brand it is and whether or not it’s scented or contains aloe or other moisturizers, facial tissue will forever be asked for in this way: “Hey, will you hand me a Kleenex?”
Some brand names have become so genericized that competitors with similar products have won lawsuits to have all or part of a product or service name declared non-proprietary. An example of this would be the word “cola,” which was – at one time – owned by Coca-Cola. It was ruled that the word “cola” is descriptive of the product instead of being brand-specific and “cola” became a generic word for soft drinks.
So if you have developed a new product or service and are searching for a brand name which should be catchy and memorable, as well as destined for the annals of “household name” history. Avoid researching your idea online in any fashion, other than to determine whether or not your idea has already been used. If you can find inspiration for branding online, it’s already been thought of, created or used by someone somewhere.
Your mind is the most powerful search engine you could ever use, so make the most of it by thinking as far outside the box as you can. Be original. Be different. Do you want to simply be one of the crowd or do you want to be leading the crowd?