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Thursday, February 16, 2012

#50 - Generic vs Brand-name terminology – Part 1

Every industry and company has its own beloved terminology. This inside lexicon may in time develop into a company language. There are many intentions and reasons for brand-name terminology. A few of them are: 
  1. The intent is sometimes to economize communication. A single industry term may be understood by its users to encompass a general set of conditions or product characteristics.
  2. Another intent of specific terminology may be related to marketing tactics. A brand name may be selected because of the images that it conjures up in the mind of the buyer. These terms may be catchy but have little reference to the type or design of the product.
  3. Company brands or terminology may also simply be a legacy left over from an earlier time. Perhaps the current product bears no resemblance to the original, but the name is well-known and is best left as is. 
I used to work in the coatings industry. That industry is somewhat over-populated by brands and types. The age of the industry combined with the sheer number of applications has produced a long rich vocabulary. Our company felt that this impeded the clear communication of ideas especially in the industrial maintenance market where the applications were more demanding. Too many brand names were completely cryptic regarding the actual chemistry of the product. We found some that even suggested characteristics and chemistries that were not completely accurate.

So we elected to call our products by their generic coating types and basic chemistries instead of by marketing-derived or legacy names. For example, we had Polyamide-Cured Epoxy instead of something like ‘Durapox’. We had Aliphatic Urethane instead of a brand name like ‘Superthane’ or something.

The intent was to convey clear information about the product chemistry. To an experienced user, this would in turn communicate information about the intended uses and applications. This approach was partially adopted for the retail side of our business also. (We had to be careful not to get too technical in retail situations.)

As a suggestion to any technical salesperson – we at Nova believe in cutting through the industry jargon when talking to customers. If there is a helpful piece of information hiding behind a brand name or industry term, then say so. Company reputations aside, most customers just want a product that works. In our industry, that means reliable gas analysis data. The marketing has only temporary value and is often slanted in favor of the seller rather than the buyer.

Speaking of marketing, we’re Nova. We make gas analyzers for oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen, and other gases. We are part of the Iron & Steel Division of the Tenova Group.

Give Mike or Dave at Nova a call, or send us an e-mail.
sales at nova-gas dot com
websales at nova-gas dot com

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