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Distinguished Brands Can Suffer from Being Too Popular
By: Jacqueline Reed
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Yesterday, Fox News posted an article on the dangers of a brand becoming a generic name. In “iPad may join Aspirin, Heroin, as generic name, branding experts say,” the author shares how a brand becoming generic can be detrimental to a business or product, which brings up the point that though being first to market with an innovative product has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages too.

The article takes a look at how many popular brands deteriorate because of their popularity. Familiar brands including Kleenex, Band-Aid, and Aspirin have been deemed generic, which allows others to use the brand names to describe similar and sometimes inferior products.  

Though many companies strive to be first to market, holding that distinguished accomplishment doesn’t always happen. Consider Tivo, the original DVR system, which revolutionized how we watch television today. Founded in 1997 by Michael Ramsay and James Barton, Tivo was the far leader of easily recording TV programs and pausing/rewinding live TV. The innovative technology quickly became a verb in the English language. People often described recording a program as “Tivo-ing.” The company’s success seemed destined for greatness; however, in 2005, Direct TV announced it would create its own DVR systems and other cable companies followed, quickly pushing Tivo by the wayside.     

Another good example is the Palm, one of the first PDAs to hit the market. The craze surrounding the device was crazy. To have all your vital information on a hand-held that you could carry around from meeting to meeting was really something for many business professionals. Palm was eventually replaced by BlackBerry, and then BlackBerry was replaced by smartphones.

For brand marketers across the globe, creating a brand too well can take a turn that you wouldn’t expect. Though we can’t help patting the backs of those who take a brand to an all-new level, even if the glory doesn’t always last.

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About the Author
Jacqueline Reed is a writer and marketing consultant specializing in creating effective outbound and inbound marketing programs for small-to-medium businesses. Find her online here.
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