Xerox is synonymous with photocopying, so much so that we have coined the term Xeroxing. In a similar fashion, we use the term googling. Band-aid, Frisbee, Post-it and Scotch tape are just some of the other brand names that are used as generic terms. These are just a few of the names that popped in my head, this list is actually much longer. I believe the new one to make it to this list, is WhatsApp. How often have you said or heard whatsapp the number to me?! Okay, it is not grammatically correct, but it is well accepted and is definitely here to stay. These terms have been used so extensively that it has become the norm to google it, or whatsapp it or xerox it. In such instances comes the term verbification where brand names are used as verbs.
It really makes me wonder how we have so comfortably and conveniently used these brand names as generic terms. I believe these brands very successfully nailed some core aspects – first-to-market, convenience and customer support. And till these brands were introduced, we didn’t even realize the dire need for it. WhatsApp is a classic case in point. It is only 7 years since whatsapp has launched. 7 years. That is all!! It has seemed forever that we have been relying on this one app for most of our communication requirements.
All these brands ventured into the market at a time when there was no other brand offering these solutions. These brands introduced products/ solutions and filled the gap in the market. While the company has certainly dominated the marketplace by being first-to-market, it is certainly not this reason alone for the brand to enjoy greater loyalty. Consumers across the globe want products that offer an ease of use along with a great customer service experience. Amazon is regarded as the benchmark for delivering a great customer service experience*.
Every one of these organizations have built a strong brand and a loyal customer base. The power of brand is not only measured when it is verbified, but also when it has a tremendous brand recall. There are brands like Apple, Tiffany, Reebok, Audi, Coca Cola and many more that do not fall in the former category but have immense brand recall and a dedicated follower base.
I would like to mention a particular brand that has caught my interest – Wendy’s.
A little more than a month back, a high school student asked Wendy’s on Twitter, “how many retweets for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets”. 18 million is the reply he got. With more than 3.42 million retweets (as of May 9), his tweet is the most retweeted post on Twitter according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Not only did he get his year’s supply of chicken nuggets, but the brand visibility that Wendy’s received is unfathomable. Who would have thought a simple tweet will pave the way to the most retweeted post of all time?! I believe Wendy’s taught us a very simple lesson in brand recall – customer engagement in an unconventional manner.
With the popularity of social media platforms, there is more than one way to connect and engage with your audience. One size does not fit all. Every platform requires a different engagement technique. What truly matters at the end of the day is building a brand identity that resonates with your target audience. In the words of Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon.com, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
– Dhruv Jain, Director, Expotrade Global
The article originally appeared in LinkedIn