Can your brand verb-up?

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What does ‘to verbify' and ‘verbing' mean? BRND WGN’s Creative Director, Katerina Karamallaki, translates.

“Slack it to me”. “Just Google it”. “I’ll Whatsapp you”.

To verb-up, verbify or verbing - whatever term you choose, they all signify a verb that has been substituted by a brand’s name, becoming an action and therefore synonymous with it. 

Considered to be the Holy Grail for most marketeers, to some it signifies a subliminal nod to the brand’s undisputed lead in the market, while for others it can dilute the impact of a brand.

From Xerox to Velcro to Hoover, this is certainly not a new phenomenon. Today, despite the enormous selection of brands battling each other in a very saturated market, consumers still feel a strong sense of loyalty to brands that provide them with new experiences and still tend to verbify certain brand names.

It’s not clear why some brands or products verb-up, while others don’t. One of the crucial rules to doing so, is that a brand has to really engage with its audience and adopt their own verbified brand in the way they speak, planting the seed very early on in their marketing communications. 

Even so, there is still no guarantee that the name will stick with their customers. Yahoo launched a campaign attempting to verbify the brand back in 1996, two years before the launch of Google. And still, none of us have ever Yahoo-ed. But we have most definitely Googled. 

Innovation is one of the reasons that can cause a brand to verb-up; if a verb does not exist for a product or action, people will most likely verbify the brand that is in control of that product. As a rule, a brand will only verb-up if the experience or product they offer is something truly new and different in the market. 

A unique name is also key. No one had ever heard of Skype or Google before these brands burst through their respective markets. A fabricated brand name connotes a new and exciting experience, something no one else has ever offered before, which means it can easily turn into a verb. 

Recently BRND WGN branded a new product in the world of 3D printing, called Magigoo. Our client, the innovation start-up Thought 3D, created a printing adhesive that removes the frustration with having your print stick to the printer platform, allowing customers to get on with their creative work (have a look at our case study for the brand here). 

During our strategy and exploration phase, we realised their product and approach was something truly unique to the market, especially their focus on creativity. Their competitors only champion the ‘problem solving’ space, whereas Magigoo really stands out from the pack and has all the ingredients as a brand to verb-up. With a fun, new, and fabricated name that refers to the ‘magic’ potion that makes it so remarkable, plus a name that sounds like the motion of applying the glue, Magigoo has become a synonym to ‘enabling creativity’.

So, will the name verbify and stick? Only time will tell. But we believe it will. Till then, let’s Magigoo it!