Generalization: Is It Recognizing a Brand or Deteriorating a Brand

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3414 , Published on 16 August 2012
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When we want a photocopy of papers we go to shop and say “Xerox” it, in spite of any machine used by them. When we are hurt we go to chemist shop and ask for “Band-aid”. When we look for something on internet, we say Google it rather than saying search for it on internet.

These all words Xerox, Band-aid and Google have become so popular that they become a Noun. This phenomenon is generalization- When a product name becomes a generic name for an item. Or in another language brands become so famous that they are synonymous with their product. Genericide word is derived from two word generic and suicide.

So generalization can be good for the company as well as bad for the company. The good for the company is that the brand has become so famous that every recognize product with the brand name. But the bad for the company is that a trade name becomes too common that it no longer exist as a brand name. Business wants wide recognition of their brand but fear becoming generic.

Generalization gives confusion in mind of consumers. The brand which becomes generic Long back is Xerox, it increased to so much extend that people still used to call any copying machine as Xerox. Even Merriam Webster dictionary has two Xerox one in noun form and other as verb with the definition "to copy on a xerographic copier”. Same way Apple I pod first music player is the name people used for digital music players or MP3 players.

FOR A BRAND THREE FACTORS ARE INTERRELATED

Brand recognition: it is build by trade name, logo, even particular packaging of the product. It is when consumer can easily differentiate between two products and can easily recognize your product. Brand which are able to build themselves in this category become iconic brands. There are various benefits of building image of the brand as it will ease the recall of the product. Impulsive buying behavior and product brought for testing are because of brand recognition.

Brand loyalty: It is consumer is happy with product and service and will stick to particular product and service. It is important in repurchasing decision. Once brand loyalty is built, it is very tough for consumer to switch the product. Sometime they become so loyal to the product brand that they are not able to accept superior version of product or small changes in product designing and packaging.

Brand deterioration: It is when brand name doesn’t carry any significance. It is when brand name becomes noun and start representing similar products. There is very little option left for brand owner when their name starts deteriorating.

SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF GENERALIZATION ARE

Brand Name

Product

Band -aid

Bandage

Google

Search

I-pad

Tablet computer

Maggi

Noodles

Coke

Soft drink

Jeep

compact sporty vehicle

Power Point

electronic presentation

Photoshop

Photo editing

Teflon

cookware for protective coating

Velcro

Hooks and loops fasteners

Vaseline

petroleum jelly

Bisleri

Packaged drinking water

BRAND NAME WHICH LOST THEIR TRADE NAME DUE TO GENERALIZATION

The ultimate fear which occurs to brand is that their brand name becomes too common that it lost its significance of existence as trademark. There are companies who had lost their trademark on products. Such as:

  • Escalator” — initially a trademark of the Otis Elevator Company
  • Aspirin” — initially a trademark of Bayer AG
  • Fridge – initially a trademark of Fridigaire

These trademarks become so common that court rule out of flavor of these companies and result was these names are no further brand names.

ONE OF BIGGEST DILEMMA OF BUSINESS

So the biggest dilemma which remain in front of business houses is whether to spend on marketing and branding of products or not? Company try best to make their brand as generic to increase recall while buying. And even companies spend million to create a brand and building a name. Brands try to keep themselves unique by means of graphic logo for better identifications

But sometimes these names become so popular that they even start representing similar products ultimately leading to decrease in reputation of brand. If the brand name become so widespread brand ultimately loose significance. And the worse case is it is very difficult to reverse once it start happening.

FIGHTING BACK TO PREVENT IDENTITY LOSS

This is done by Band-aid after its name started becoming generic. Company changed their slogan from “I m stuck on Band-aid” to “I’M stuck on band-aid brand”.

So what is required is that brand must balance their desire of recognition with disadvantage of deterioration.

This article has been authored by Divya Bhatia from Welingker Institute of Management.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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