BRAND NAMES ARE USED TO DISTINGUISH PRODUCTS AND SERVICES IN THE MARKET. The main purpose is to create not just a product but an identifying name, an entity that is not only tangible but serves a real purpose to consumers. It is that tenacity that gives the product its boldness and distinct imagery. It separates the end- user from the manufacturer and marketer.
With that being said, some brand names take over our daily lives. They are personified to the extent that they become part of our vocabulary without notice. By using the brand names, we actually mean verbalizing it daily instead of consuming the product. Here are the top 10 widely used brand names in the world:
1. Google– The implied definition of the brand name is: ‘to look up’. There are many search engines on the internet but Google seem to find a niche by itself and we are stuck with the so-called verb. If you are in doubt of the fact that this search engine is widely renown, Google it!
2. FedEx– The implied definition of FedEx is: ‘to ship’. This company is an international courier with branches all over the world and people widely use this service to send packages for domestic and commercial purpose. However, we have gotten used to the service to the extent that everything that is remitted is classified as ‘FedEx’. Ironically, we even find ourselves to be ‘fexdexing’ packages from competing shipping companies without ever understanding the rhetoric behind the unnoticeable confusion in that operation.
3. Duck Tape– The implied definition of Duck Tape is: ‘secure it tightly’. Many people might not know that Duck Tape is really a brand and not just strong adhesive tape that only secure things. Known to be invented since World War 11, the Duck tape’s ability to glue together the history and standards over the years is indicative of its true features.
Every tape that we use to keep water out and secure a package firmly, is considered “duck tape’ but little do we know that it could be another brand. Some manufacturers get wise enough to use the name “Duct tape” so as not to stray far from the original name. Now that is a sticky situation!
4. Band Aid– The implied definition is: ‘Cover the wound’. Anything that we use to cover cuts is most times classified as Band Aid. This world-famous portable medical adhesive bandage was invented in the 1920s. This came about when an employee of a famous pharmaceutical company, found his wife, frequently wounded during cooking. The idea peeled off when they found a secure way to cover the injury and years later Band Aid became America’s number one first aid friend.
You could also see sportsmen and women applying these little strips to cuts and bruises during sporting events. However, there are hundreds of sanitary strips that are available in the market but one gets used to the name of this little adhesive giant and though many competitors are overlooked while using their products, there is nothing that we can do to put a ‘band aid’ on this issue.
5. Armor All– The implied definition is: ‘interior cleaning, protecting and shining’. If you just ‘Armor All’ the car, you have just cleaned the inside and polished it. Even if you have used turtle wax, which incidentally is a second brand name to look out for, people used this brand name very frequently.
Armor All is a tolerable cleaner for your vehicle. I say tolerable as it is gentle on vinyl and rubber finishes. Also, it is water-soluble and has an odor that everyone can identify. However, this brand might not be widely used as its name but those who have really used the product and are satisfied with it will continue to promote its wonders.
6. Gleaner– The implied definition is: ‘Newspaper’. Contrary to popular belief, the Gleaner is not the generic name for a newspaper, it is a brand and many people adopt the name and call every newspaper “Gleaner”. Some publishing companies stick to the principle and give it their local name along with the tile or brand name “Gleaner” attached to it.
Gleaner incidentally, is the name given to crops that are harvested for pick up. Jamaica was the first country to name its newspaper ‘Gleaner’ in 1834. Thereafter, this document spread across North America and the entire world. The next time you buy newspaper, do remember that Gleaner is not the name of the product but it’s the brand name given for the widely used informational newsprint.
7. Aspirin– The implied definition is: ‘headache antidote’. Have you ever had a headache and said you are going to take an aspirin? Chances are, 9 out of 10 times; the medicine we take is not the brand name Aspirin. Aspirin is the name of a drug that is taken to relieve headaches and pains. There are literally hundreds of headache and pain tablets out in the market that people take but Aspirin gets all the credit.
8. Kleenex– The implied definition is: ‘car or household hand towel’. Sometimes I wonder if we are aware that the name is not necessarily Kleenex but we use the name for convenience. This name has been around long enough for us to use another substitute. However, whoever started this mess has got to ‘Kleenex’ it before it becomes a legal issue.
9. Laundromat– The implied definition is: ‘the place where clothes are washed, cleaned and dried’. If you happen to go in the clothes cleaning business, you have the right to give it any name you like. The trick is, the name Laundromat easily identifies what the business is about.
Laundromat is surprisingly a brand name and not the generic name for the operation of cleaning your clothes. Therefore 10 out of 10 times when someone is asked where he or she is going, the answer would be the ‘Laundromat’ even if you name the business ‘Betty’s Cleaning Company.’
10. Touch Tone– The implied definition is: ‘anything that encodes Dual Tone Multi-frequency Signals (DTMF). We have used that trademark for years until we have gotten accustomed to the name but surprisingly, it is a brand invented by AT&T. Many telecommunication companies use touch-tone features in their operations to make communication easier.
I don’t know if using the phrase connotes any infringements on the company trademark act but the phrase by itself can be found in the dictionary and that might exonerate any likely possibilities of legal actions.
On the matter of duplicating and substituting brand names, Xerox, which is interpreted as any photocopying or duplicating paper, is widely used in offices unnoticeable. There is an expression that says: words are the wind but the above examples of brand names show that some words are extremely powerful winds.
Naming a product is giving it life and when we become part of that family, we bring a whole new meaning to product and image branding. Everything has gone into the creation and marketing of our goods and services and since it is part of our daily routine, we can now create a dictionary with standard meanings instead of implied interpretations for these frequently mentioned brand names.