Lately, many brand names have shifted into the realm of verbs. They’re used in our common vocabulary and it only took a little while for them to become the norm. This has happened more frequently to companies in the online space.
A perfect example of this is Google. When someone says “Google it”, it’s pretty well understood that you should get on the Internet, go to the search engine Google and use it as an encyclopedia. Another example is Facebook. “Facebook me,” really means look me up on the social networking site Facebook and send me a message or post on my wall.
How and why does this happen? Usually consumers are the ones who choose what companies get “verbed up.” We live in a society that likes speed and taking shortcuts. It’s quicker to say “I’ll Skype you tonight,” than having to let them know they should have their computers on because they’re going to video chat you later. Neologisms, which are newly coined words, terms or phrases, tend to happen in rapidly changing cultures where information can be easily accessed and shared.
And what better embodies such a culture than the Internet?
Twitter is an exceptional example of a company that took this trend and ran with it. Instead of having Twitter become the verb of writing your message, they created the term “tweet.” This generated a sort of double exposure for the company. Not only did Twitter control the vocabulary being used on their website from the beginning, they also got brand loyalty from their consumers. Users that would say “I’ll Twitter it,” were quickly redirected to the correct phrase: “You’ll tweet it.”
Whether companies like it or not, “verbification” will continue to occur. What will be interesting to see is which brands will take advantage of it, and how. But undoubtedly, creating a simple vocabulary for consumer communication can get a company a front row seat in the marketplace.