Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What's in a Brand Name!

What is the height of branding I wonder! Is it Xerox? Even today in India we say “Xerox” instead of ‘copy”. And though most of us here were born in the era of Canon Copiers, we still use the term “xerox’ when we want to convey ‘copy’. This is because our parents use the word and have unwittingly passed it down to us.

Now you might argue that “Xerox’ was a monopoly back in the good ol days when our folks were cutting classes and going to the movies. But I still feel that it has set a precedent in branding in India.

Amongst the newer brands that have managed the same feat, one stands out distinctly in Bangalore. And the realization came to recently when I was unwittingly involved in the discovery. My neighbor has an old Maruti 800 car, probably the first one to roll out of the factory. The car has become a landmark of sorts. Recently neighbors noticed that the car had disappeared. One neighbor came to me to enquire over its disappearance.

Neighbor: Where is Mr Rao’s Maruti?
Me: He sold it and bought a new car.
Neighbor: Oh! Which car did he buy? Another Maruti heh heh!
Me: No, he bought a Meru.
Neighbor: Oh ok!

It was after my neighbor left that it stuck me that I had used the term “Meru” instead of “Mahindra Logan”. For non Bangaloreans let me explain….Meru taxis were the first professionally managed Taxis to run between the new Bangalore airport and the city. The entire fleet consists of Mahindra Logans. And by now I guess most of us have started calling a Logan a Meru. That’s why neither I nor my neighbor noticed the gaffe!

Way to go Mr Meru... if that is your name.

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