Is there such a thing as a product that’s too successful? Well, maybe.
Consider the Q-Tip. Everybody calls ‘em this, even if they happen to be the generic equivalent. Some might say that’s a good problem for a company to have, but in reality, it can be a real challenge.
When a brand name is so successful that it becomes synonymous with the overall product, you’ve got a problem. A blog from a marketing firm helps to explain. The site argues that in cases such as Thermos and Windex, the companies didn’t position the products as brands. Instead the products became categories.
Once that happens, the company will have a hard time convincing consumers to buy their (probably more expensive) version of “X” product, when any number of generic alternatives illicit the same reaction from consumers.
There are other examples of this phenomenon. The Frisbee, for instance. That’s actually a brand name, but people toss it around (pardon the pun) like it applies to all flying discs.
Same thing with Kleenex, Scotch tape, Xerox, Rollerblades, Tupperware, Band-aids, Hi-lighters and the granddaddy of them all — Post-It Notes. All are hugely successful, but they may have been bigger hits with a different marketing strategy.
Got more examples of name brands that are synonymous with product categories? What about companies that might have been in danger of this, but didn’t let it happen (Apple’s iPod, for instance). Please sound off in the comments below.
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