Google may be a tech company, but the word “Google” has long since come to mean something else.
It’s the verb meaning “to look something up online.” After all, if someone doesn’t know something, we tell them to “Google it.”
A few other brands have reached this status too.
For most people, “Kleenex” is the name for tissues. Similarly, “Taser” has come to mean any non-lethal electric stun weapon. Even some completely unassuming words started off as brand names: Dumpster, Bubble Wrap, Escalator, even Kerosene.
This can be both a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, it keeps the name at the top of the customers mind. For example, few people can think of a search engine other than Google.
On the other hand, few now remember the original creators of the Dumpster or of Kerosene. The brand may have become a household name, but the original product and their manufacturer are long gone.
Another brand that’s becoming a household name is Netflix Inc. (NFLX). And this November, we’re going to see whether that’s a blessing or a curse.
Because on November 1, the “Content Wars” will begin the next era of streaming entertainment.