When a brand becomes so dominant that its name becomes synonymous with the service or product it provides, you know it is successful! This phenomenon is called brand verbification, and it offers massive advantages for any brand, once achieved. But how does this happen, and how can you get to this epitome of branding success? Let’s find out!
What is Brand Verbification?
The term “brand verbification” refers to the phenomenon where a brand’s name is commonly used as a replacement for the specific action or offering it represents. This branding concept is widely observed, and here are some well-known examples:
- Instead of saying “search online,” we say “Google it.”
- Instead of saying “send a message,” we say “WhatsApp it.”
- Instead of saying “make a photocopy,” we say “Xerox it.”
These brands have become so deeply integrated into our everyday lives that they have transitioned from being mere nouns to functioning as verbs. This natural evolution provides numerous advantages, including heightened brand recognition, market dominance, customer loyalty, and even customer endorsement. After all, when customers use the brand name as a verb, they’re endorsing it for free!
Why does brand verbification happen and how can marketers leverage it?
Brand verbification commonly arises when a brand establishes itself as a frontrunner or pioneer in its industry, providing a product or service that is exceptionally distinctive or widely embraced. This leads to the brand’s name being adopted as a convenient substitute for the corresponding action. To effectively capitalize on brand verbification, consider the following tips:
- Marketing and Advertising- Brands have the opportunity to leverage their verb status in marketing and branding campaigns to solidify their position in the market. By creating compelling and high-quality content and engaging with their community, brands can reinforce the idea of using their brand as a verb in the minds of customers. Incorporating their brand’s verb form in messaging and visuals can further strengthen brand recognition and association.
- Product Development- Brands that have achieved verb status can utilize this distinction to guide their product development and innovation efforts. By focusing on enhancing the features and qualities that made them popular in the first place, brands can continually improve their offerings and maintain their competitive edge in the market.
- Brand Expansion- The verb status of a brand can serve as a powerful tool for expanding into new markets or introducing new product lines. Brands can leverage their well-established brand name to endorse and launch new products or services. This can help capitalize on the existing customer loyalty and recognition associated with their brand, facilitating a smoother transition and acceptance in new market segments.
- Band Identity Optimization- The brand name and logo should be simple and catchy enough for people to remember and use. Relatable, unique, and easily usable branding elements will form a favorable basis for brand verbification.
- Outshining the Competition- The product or service must be innovative and superior to competitors to ensure that it remains the first preference for a long time. And this would result from innovation, good PR, and being a first mover.
- User-Generated Content (UGC)- UGC is any content that is created by prospective or existing users rather than brands. Companies can leverage UGC for the brand to promote verbification by encouraging customers to share their experiences with the brand, ideally with a unique and catchy hashtag that incorporates your brand as a verb.
- Adapt and Evolve- Stay attuned to changing market trends and consumer preferences. Continually innovate and adapt your offerings to remain relevant and maintain your position as a market leader.
Examples of brand verbification
Let’s consider the aforementioned examples in greater detail to find how they achieved brand verbification-
Xerox Corporation, a multinational document management corporation, is a classic example of brand verbification. The brand became so synonymous with photocopying that people started using the term ‘Xerox’ as a verb to mean ‘make a photocopy’. Xerox achieved this by being a first mover and expanding quickly while offering high quality. It also leveraged its growing popularity in its marketing campaigns, reinforcing its position as a market leader.
Google is a prime example of a brand becoming a verb. The search engine giant focused on growing fast and providing innovative services for free to constantly grow its user base. As a result, it became so popular that ‘Googling’ became a common term for ‘searching online’. Google capitalized on this by integrating the verb ‘Google’ into its advertising and marketing strategies, further cementing its dominance in the search engine market.
WhatsApp, the popular messaging app, has also seen its brand name used as a verb due its superior quality and fast growth of user base. People often say they’ll ‘WhatsApp’ someone, meaning they’ll send them a message via the app. WhatsApp has used this to its advantage, focusing on enhancing the features that made them popular in the first place, such as end-to-end encryption and the ability to send multimedia messages.
And that’s not all! Here are some other popular examples of brand names turning into their verb forms:
Skype- Skype, a telecommunications application that provides video chat and voice call services, is often used as a verb. When people say they’ll ‘Skype’ someone, it means they’ll call or video chat with them using Skype.
Photoshop- Adobe Photoshop, a graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Inc., has also seen its brand name used as a verb. ‘Photoshopping’ has become a common term for digitally altering images, regardless of the software used.
Hoover- Hoover, a vacuum cleaner company, is an example of brand verbification that has been around for a while. In some countries, ‘hoovering’ is a common term for vacuuming, regardless of the brand of vacuum cleaner used.
Uber- Uber, the popular ride-hailing service, is another example of a brand becoming a verb. People often say they’ll ‘Uber’ somewhere, meaning they’ll get a ride using the Uber app.
Venmo- Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal, has become so popular that it’s not uncommon to hear phrases like “Venmo me” when people are splitting a bill or sharing expenses. This means transferring money using the Venmo app.
The Bottom Line
Brand verbification is a powerful branding concept that can significantly enhance a brand’s recognition, loyalty, and market dominance. It’s a testament to a brand’s success and influence when its name becomes a part of everyday language. Leading brands have successfully leveraged this phenomenon to their advantage, reinforcing their market positions and guiding their product development and expansion strategies.
Achieving brand verbification is not an easy task. It requires a unique, innovative product or service, a catchy and relatable brand name, and effective marketing and branding strategies to achieve the heights of popularity where verbification manifests.
But once achieved, brand verbification can provide a significant competitive advantage and pave the way for long-term success. So, don’t hesitate to take the help of branding experts and seasoned branding content design agencies like Infobrandz to give your branding campaign a boost and achieve verbification.