When it comes to brand name recognition, it’s tough to compete with the “verbs.” Like Google, the search engine that became so synonymous with surfing the web that the Oxford English Dictionary made the company’s name a bonafide verb in 2006.
Or Kleenex, that ubiquitous tissue brand that we all grab for when we have a cold. And of course the list goes on to include popular products like Xerox, Tivo, Saran Wrap, Frisbee, Q-Tip and Post-It notes, to name just a few. Thanks to a serendipitous confluence of timing, innovative offerings and a groundswell of mass adoption, these products and services have become eponymous with the entire genre they inhabit, going from a mere name on their label to a word used in everyday language.
Federal Express has enjoyed this kind of name recognition, too. As the first shipper to offer guaranteed express delivery beginning in the mid 1970’s, the FedEx brand name quickly became the verb of choice used to describe the act of sending a package overnight. Indeed, anyone with a few years under their belt in business has probably “FedExed” their share of “Xeroxes” to clients or colleagues over the years.
But even with an enviable level of name recognition and notoriety that most brands can only dream about, the brand in recent years has recognized that its verb status needs some care and feeding if it’s going to stay relevant to a younger generation, especially those prospective customers that Google, Facebook and Tweet on a regular basis, and are coming up through the ranks and into decision-making positions at a rapid pace.