The highest degree of dilution of the brand’s added value occurs when the brand becomes generic. The brand is considered a descriptive word, part of everyday vocabulary with no distinctive properties. The classic examples are well-known: Scotch, Kleenex, Xerox, Nylon, Velux. What causes a brand to be reduced to the point of becoming generic? The abandonment of any communication on the brand’s specific nature and purpose can cause its decline. Thus, any dominant brand of a new product risks becoming a generic name. This can be prevented by taking certain precautions, for example:
- create a word to designate the product of the brand;
- never mention the brand’s name alone, but together with the product’s generic designation;
- never use the brand’s name as a verb (in the United States, for instance, to xerox means to make a photocopy) or as a noun, but as an adjective;
- systematically protest whenever the brand’s name is used as a common noun by third parties and the media; for instance, request that an erratum be published. Through not having reacted strongly enough, Du Pont de Nemours lost the ownership of Nylon and Teflon, which have since become generic terms;
- nurture the perceived difference between the brand and competitive products, either with tangible attributes or with intangible values. In any event introduce new products.