Prestige Limousine : How generic #domains can hurt your company’s reputation
Generic domains can help a company’s effectiveness in reaching out to consumers, but it usually takes years to do so.
Take for example Apple.com – this generic keyword is used as an arbitrary mark, a word or image that already exists, but it has nothing to do with the business that uses it.
It took many years for Apple to become a household name, however, and your mileage might vary; there is no guarantee that a generic name can always be associated with a company brand or product in the consumers’ mind.
And here lies the problem: generic domains can lead to brand confusion due to their lack of distinctiveness.
In the case of Prestige Limousine, a limo service in New York, a recent tragic, lethal accident cost more than just the lives of 20 people that perished in it.
The company’s name consists of two generic words, “prestige limousine,” that are highly descriptive. Due to the lack of distinctiveness, other businesses chose to use the same or similar names.
Erik Pelton is an IP attorney specializing in trademarks and mark registrations for businesses. He provides very useful information on brands via his podcast, and pointed out how the Prestige Limousine accident affected other businesses that share the same generic brand:
Multiple “Prestige Limousine” businesses may have their reputation ruined by the tragic accident this week. Having a unique and creative brand name avoids confusion with competitors.
“AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO OUR CUSTOMERS AND FRIENDS – As most of you know, on Saturday, October 6, 2018, there was a tragic accident in Schoharie, New York, in which a limousine apparently failed to stop at an intersection, struck a parked vehicle and came to rest in a small ravine, killing the driver and all seventeen passengers aboard, as well as two bystanders in the parking lot of an adjacent business.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased.
It has been reported that the limousine in question was owned and operated by a business from Gansevoort, New York, also named Prestige Limousine, a business with which we have no connection whatsoever.”
It’s unfortunate that this deadly event is affecting other businesses, unrelated to the tragic accident.
Choosing a brand that is distinct, and going as far as inventing a unique brand and securing a fanciful mark, seems to be a better choice than relying on generic terms and domains.
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