Did Google Glass Make A Monumental Branding Error, and Why Being First Won’t Help Them


I remember when I created my parent company name Customer Hunter, and how proud I was for coming up with the name. I still like it a ton, but every time I speak to people and I say the name of my company on the phone, they ask me to repeat it atleast twice. Apparently, there is something about the name that doesn’t translate well when spoken. What a shame, cuz  I fell in love with the name. Even my brand Tenfold Traffic, which works much better still translates poorly when spoken, mostly because the D at the end of tenfold and the T at the beggining of traffic get smudged together.

It always amazes me how much ego plays a role in business decisions and how they can cause untold damage. However, it is especially frustrating when I see a big brand make a huge mistake driven by executive pride, in something as important as branding decisions, especially when the damage may be more in lost potential than a quantifiable loss.

Choosing the name of your brand is very important, and while the fix is as easy as changing it, the damage can be a complete non-starter for a brand. You need to pay attention to how well it translates when spoken, especially when spoken to someone who can’t see your lips move. Brands are built by word of mouth, and if you put a roadblock in the way to talking about your brand, you are in trouble.

I am specifically referring to Google Glass, and wonder if they overlooked a fundamental branding law about not being able to brand a generic term. I wonder this because I see everyone calling Google Glass, Google Glasses. Glasses are a generic term that is not brandable when it comes to something that  your eyes look through. I love the name Google Glass, I think it is a great name, one that can really stoke someones ego, but if it gets easily confused with a generic term, that represent a very related category, that is a big problem. Besides for the real tech people, who see Google Glass all over the place online and are exposed to it extensively, everyone else seems to say, “Oh you Mean, Google Glasses?” This of course annoys me, because Google Glasses is not a good name, it is a lame generic name that can never stand for something like wearable computing in peoples minds.

We know other providers are working extensively to bring similar technology to market, and being first seems to be A-1 priority, which is very important from a branding perspective.

The Mistake Google Seems To Be Making Is… Thinking Being First Is More Important, Than BEING FIRST IN PEOPLE’S MINDS! 

What this means, is that by using a generic name, people cannot associate it with a specific brand, just a category, and essentially, by being first all Google is doing is building the category, but not owning the brand.

What I find interesting is that Google seems to be doing so much to own the category in peoples minds the way they did with Search, but I think this is one case where the second to market, if they use a brandable name will win the day.

Only time will tell, but I suspect people will never say, “Just Glass It”

What do you think?

About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Great post.

  2. No one will ever, ever catch me saying ‘Just glass it’. It doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘Google it’ even if they’re one of the same given Google Glass. Regardless, I very much see your point with this post. They may have built the category and while I always go to google for search, their glasses don’t seem to be headed the same way. I can’t ever say that I’ve seen people using them, talking about them (except here and there online) or really noticing the fact that they exist. If they continue to focus in being the first, it’s pretty inevitable that when another company launched into the same category with a different marketing, they might surpass google in this avenue.

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