What do kleenex, frisbee, thermos, zipper, yo-yo, band-aid and xerox have in common? They’re all “genericized” trademarks:
A trademark typically becomes “genericized” when the products or services with which it is associated have acquired substantial market dominance or mind share such that the primary meaning of the genericized trademark becomes the product or service itself rather than an indication of source for the product or service to such an extent that the public thinks the trademark is the generic name of the product or service.
So, when your nose is running you ask for a kleenex, not a paper face napkin.
When you want to toss a flying plastic disc around with your friends you reach for a frisbee.
When you need to duplicate of a sheet of paper you make a xerox, and so on.
What if Sigma Nu became a genericized trademark to describe the ideal men’s college fraternity? What’s holding your chapter back from achieving this sort of dominant market share on your campus?
On a broader level, what’s holding Sigma Nu back from earning genericized trademark status as the fraternity? Is there any reason this might be a bad thing?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
UPDATE: The New Yorker magazine on “xeroxing a xerox.”