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COMMENT: Branding in the vernacular

You have been Googled
Naseem Javed

Googalization by Surfers. Ever heard. “Did you google today?” or “Go try googling and you will find it?”
Watch out for this daily lingo as to most people it may sound pretty good as free advertising for Google ™ but in fact it can be a nightmare for this corporation.

When a name brand lends to ‘verbing’ such as, xeroxing, fedexing, rollerblading, then this is the time the code-red alert hits the boardrooms. The legal SWAT teams go into full action to protect these super successful legendry global brands and an aggressive policing of the usage of these names kicks in.

So what can you do to so that your brand name doesn’t end up being a part of daily chit-chat. If it becomes a verb or a popular dictionary word of public domain losing its intellectual property rights…like Kleenex, Fridge, Hoover. Then there are very few things you can do. Firstly, consider this a happy problem, because by this time you have acquired all the profits, recognition and the success you can get. The legal teams can only issue fancy memos and force people and media to always refer to such names as registered trademarks of the companies. They ask advertising & branding agencies to avoid making creative uses and plays on these names when used in a commercials or in general promotional copies of their ads. It is a long and a painful process. Secondly, studies have shown that certain alpha-structures do not lend to verbing that easily. Despite their fame and popularity in daily language these type of names survive in time and stay as powerful brands for the corporation while enjoying a proprietary status.

For example, Yahoo, Apple, NetScape, Telus, MicroSoft, Sony, Rolex, Nintendo etc... Have you ever heard “ I Rolexed and I realized I was late?” or “ Leave me alone, I’m Appling” How about “I just Nintendozed off” or “I was depressed and very Microsoftish” Kindly, let me know if you ever come across such ‘google de gook’.

Lastly, finding great brand names is a very scientific process and no longer a creative exercise of the left sided brain. Only under the proper Laws of Naming such issues are explored in advance and only under professional naming, such laws are applied to begin with. Days of accidental naming are over. Asking the public to hold back their emotional take on a name brand is dreaming in Technicolor™. It is time to go to the Fridge™ and chill out on a Cooler™ and better bring out some sophisticated naming strategies. Google, has a very big battle ahead and the fights are on two fronts. Firstly, it is still the best search engine to date and justifiably acquired too much global attention too quickly. Secondly, as a borrowed word from the mathematical section of the English dictionary it does have an alpha-structure which easily lends to its cute verbalization. Right now Sir Isaac Newton is simply googlified.

© Naseem Javed - author of Naming for Power, founded ABC Namebank, 25 years ago, speaker on global circuit and expert on corporate image & name identities. Full Bio

Nassem Javed on The Name Economy

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