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Use it or Lose it!

Bumble Bee wants you to “Bee Delicious.” Chase Bank wants you to “Chase What Matters.”DirecTV commands “don’t just watch TV, direct TV.” And, let me tell you that your intellectual property lawyer wants you to stop turning your brand name into a verb!

“Use it or lose it” says Lisa Martens of Fish & Richardson meaning that if you don’t use your brand name correctly, why should others? Don’t forget, improper usage opens the door for a competitor, such as San Diego County Credit Union to ask on its billboard: “Chased by high fees?” Funny, right? It clearly alludes to its competitor, but since the bank already uses its name as a verb, it’s tough to prove that the local credit union is actually referring to the behemoth bank.

What’s the Lesson Here? If you consistently misuse your brand name, you run the risk of committing “genericide ” – allowing venerable brands such as aspirin, zipper, and escalator to become generic. It’s time to say goodbye to using Google, Xerox, and FedEx as verbs and start copying, searching, or overnight expressing your documents.

Talk about turning a negative into a positive – Aflac fired Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the duck due to offensive comments, but they quickly launched where everyone can compete to become the next voice. It’s popular, it’s appropriate for the brand, and it quacks me up!

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