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“I had a rough day at work and can’t wait to get home to chill in my Jacuzzi.”

“We’re leaving for the beach tomorrow morning. Can you pack the Yeti?”

“She’s definitely ‘single.’ I just Facebooked her to check on the relationship status.”

“Seriously? It’s like you’re Photoshopped!”

Don’t know what I’m getting at with these examples? Just Google it.

These eponyms – or discoveries, items, and things after which something is named – have allowed us to essentially “verb-ify” and “noun-ify” certain brands. There is a plethora of brand names out there that we genericize on a regular basis, inadvertently referring to them as the actual products themselves. These trademarked products have become sources of extreme, branded power in our society; so much so that it seems as if we have all come to a silent agreement that the brand name is what the actual product name is called. As shown above, these names are thrown around so casually and colloquially that we, the consummate consumers, don’t even realize when we’re using the correct vs. incorrect terminology.

Creating a brand name that is synonymous with a verb or a noun leads to automatic consumer associations, greater brand recall, and the development of a ridiculously strong brand identity.  With that point made, all powerful brand associations had to start somewhere; they didn’t morph into associative miracles overnight. So, what’s the key to success? Brands need to follow two main guidelines that will help develop a de facto reference rather than going by the generic title:

The Brand Needs to Act as a Pioneer in its Product Category

To make this work well, your brand needs to have some kind of first-mover advantage. To get that initial hook that will act as a unique anchor in years to come, the brand name and product need to solve a problem that is currently unsolved. Or, they must tap into a market that contains a lot of currently unbranded products and/or references. 

For example, Photoshop replaced the reference of any (and all) software that was related to photo editing and graphic manipulation. It acted as a turnkey solution that was the first of its kind to be marketed. This led to greater word of mouth (WOM), competitive advantage, and ultimately served as the benchmark for all related programs that later broached the industry. 

The Brand Name Cannot Usurp the Product’s Importance

You cannot use a brand name that is already bigger and better than the product you plan on introducing to market. Brands can’t be so powerful that they take away the “hero” vision of their products to the public. For example, Apple is one of the most powerful brands in existence, and by naming its products “iPod,” “iPhone,” and “iPad,” they were able to dedicate a unique name and sub-brand to their creations without using “Apple” as a roadblock that could steamroll the product lines. 

Every brand must start somewhere. By creating a product that is simple and useful in a unique way, you may have a good opportunity to turn your brand or business into an eponym – a true household name.

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