Verbing up in the trademark business

« previous post | next post »

It's common practice in the trademark world to never, never, never use your trademarked name as a verb or a noun. If you do this, you'll be committing genericide, because your brand name will surely lose its distinctiveness and pretty soon you'll be losing your market edge. Why else would Xerox try so hard to teach us to say " to photocopy" rather than "to xerox"? Always use your name as an adjective, "Xerox photocopiers." But the New York Times reports that Microsoft's Steve Ballmer doesn't much believe in common practice, and he's now busily ignoring what everyone else is doing. He wants us to say, "he will bing you tomorrow," which more problematically might lead to, "he banged you yesterday."   

Maybe Ballmer recognizes that things change so rapidly in this wonderful electronic age that there's no real benefit to be derived from long-term brand names. But while Google is still holding firm against "googling" and "googled," I wonder if Ballmer is on to something here. He seems to delight in the possibility that  Bing has the potential "to verb up."

Comments are closed.