De Icebreaker Creative Studio
How brands become products?
‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’, ringing any bells? Well this is how Coca Cola became a brand synonymous to Cold drink. This tagline made Thanda aka Coca Cola the rural word for soft drinks and a hot catchphrase. The series introduced its consumers to a different Aamir Khan, sometimes a Nepali babu, a rural contractor endorsing the Rs. 5 Coke bottles or a Bengali babu. This was done in order to make people realise that Coca Cola is a brand for everyone irrespective of their demography.
Remember ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’? One of Cadbury’s most successful and longstanding campaigns, this catchphrase continues to enjoy its customer’s love and ties itself with its every day consumption. Be it post-dinner, at school, successful exams to friendships, Kuchh Achha Ho Jaaye, Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye, helped Cadbury build a brand equity and connect with its audience on an emotional level.
Interesting isn’t it? Well this is how brands become products! Let’s talk about this topic further.
Bhaiya, maggi dena”!, “Do Bisleri ki bottle do na!” Or “Ek Crocin do na!”Saw what we did there? It seemed like a normal conversation, didn’t it? But there’s more to this. Ever realized how brands have become a part of our daily lingo, quite literally. Unconsciously we have been using these brand names as verbs.
Over time, when a product is highly accepted and in demand among the public, it begins to dominate the particular industry. It becomes so famous that people begin to associate it with an action. Ever done that? Okay, have you ever googled something or have gotten your documents Xeroxed? Now, how many of you realize that these are actual brands and not actions? Not many we guess, because even as customers in a purpose-driven market we all don’t even realize whether we’re using the correct vs. incorrect terminology. What we really want is a product from a particular category but we all remember it by the most famous brand in that category.
We unknowingly replace the names with the brands to represent a whole set of categories with similar products. This phenomenon is called ‘Trademark Genericide’ and such words are called ‘Eponyms’.
There is a huge range of such words that we generalize on a daily basis so nonchalantly that it seems that we have all come to a silent agreement that these brand names are actually what the product is called.
Let’s elaborate more on this.
Here is how category-defining brands become a part of the lingo: You don’t take a pill that reduces fever and body pain, you ask for a Crocin.You don’t search for information on a web browser, you Google it. You never make photocopies, you call them xeroxes. You never ask for mineral water on a train/bus station, you ask for a Bisleri. You don’t ask your grocer to give you instant noodles, you ask for Maggi.
We could go on but the gist here is, that the one thing common in all these brands is the ‘Purpose’. They serve a certain purpose and are better than their competition in the same league and hence have become synonymous with the product.
Here are some more examples of Eponyms that you might have missed:
Aquaguard: Any water-purifier these days is called Aquaguard, which is actually a brand.
Sintex: The overhead tank is seldom called anything else but ‘Sintex ki tanki’.
Godrej: Every cupboard with a locker in an Indian household is called Godrej.
WhatsApp: This term has now become synonymous with a message. You always ask people to WhatsApp you details, don’t you?
Tupperware: As precious as the plastic-wares are to your mother, not every plastic ka Dabba is Tupperware.
Surf: Every powdered detergent is Surf.
All these brands have pioneered their industries and have managed to become household names by introducing great products, using smart marketing campaigns, and capitalizing on every opportunity they get. Being in the business, who wouldn’t want to want to attain a place in the mind of their customers, where they ultimately ask for them for a certain purpose.
Now, all this seems like a win-win situation for such brands doesn’t it? They are being acknowledged and have such a huge recall value. No! After a point in time it becomes a huge nuisance for the brand because they start losing their uniqueness and it seems like people are borrowing their brand names to promote a similar product without even paying them. When a trademark becomes a mere common description for a certain product, the rightful owner ends up having no exclusive right to its use.
For example, say if anyone asks for Maggi, they might end up buying Top Ramen or Yipieee. This becomes a brand dilution issue. So, in the process, although Maggi is known to the customer, the profit goes to some other similar instant noodles brand.
So, as important as it is to become a household name, it is very important to check all the loopholes and make brand identity and its guidelines that are so strong that no one else could leverage upon your success and efforts.
Confused about how to make a strong brand and prosper with a stronger identity. We can help you with that! Let’s connect?