Did he really say "mimeograph?"

By Brad Dodge on March 25th, 2009

Talk about the enduring strength of a brand. I was very surprised when super-orator President Obama used the term "Xerox" to describe what was done to the 1100 page budget document. With his innate ability to articulate on the fly, I was sure he'd have used the verb "photocopy" rather than the noun. Then it got more interesting. His underling reiterated the same thought a day or two later, but used the term "mimeograph" instead! Mimeograph! That term was first coined in 1898, and I don't think I've heard the term since the 60s. (Though I can still smell the fluid and hear the hum-ching, hum-ching of the machine.)

How can that term POSSIBLY have been used in 2009, when every word coming out of the administration  seems to be carefully and perfectly crafted so as not to endure after-the-fact scrutiny? It all comes down to the power of a brand. "Mimeograph" replaced the term "duplicating machine" in the minds of English speakers everywhere, and a hundred years later, still has at least one die-hard follower. "Xerox" replaced the term "photocopier" and still prevails to this day--even in the vocabulary of the president.

How about your brand? Are you using every tool available to you (and by the way, we have a LOT more tools now than they did in 1898) to further the strength of your brand? Keeping it simple? Pushing it everywhere? Will your brand endure 100 years, long after your product has been replaced by some new whiz-bang idea?