Branding Basics #12: Law of the Generic

Refresh your knowledge of Branding Basics with #12, Law of the Generic - graphic


The marketplace is not elementary school. It doesn’t pay to be “samesies”.

Having a generic brand name, similar to others in your category, is a mistake. Quite a bit of brand communication takes place verbally. Minds naturally respond to sounds, so brand name’s needs an easily recognizable sound.   In order to give meaning to what we see, our minds process sounds when we see the printed word. When a series of names appear similar, it is difficult for our brains to differentiate between them.

Natures_logosUnfortunately, when choosing a brand name, executives tend to make these decisions visually, rather than verbally.  Prospective names are set in possible logotypes and passed around the table.  In your local health foods store, have you noticed how many brand names start with Natural or Nature and have a green logo?

Nature’s Path (food), Nature’s Gate (bath & body), Nature’s Bounty (supplements), and Nature’s Way (supplements) all have green logos.  Even customers can easily forget a generic-ish brand name when talking about a great product they just tried. “It’s called Nature-something. It’s got a green logo. You can get it at the health food store. I’m not sure exactly what it’s called…Remind me to text you the name when I get home.” Ouch. Great word of mouth is harder to spread when your fans have trouble differentiating your brand name.

You don’t do yourself any favours by having the same colour logo, and a similar name to your competition and/or others in similar categories.  Strong brands are unique and carefully considered.


Take Away from Law of the Generic

“One of the fastest routes to failure is giving a brand a generic name.”