A lot of brands fail. Strong and simple statement, but we’d be misinforming you if we stated contrary. And what frustrates us even more is the amount of attention enterpreneurs are (not) giving to their branding, product & company identity and legal protection of it. So let’s take a look at what makes a brand successful  from legal/IP point of view and what enterpreneurs should improve to get better and more profitable business outcomes.

Before we head on to brand characteristics, we should mention that your brand’s worth only equals to the worth of its (legally) protected dimension. IP protection should form the crux of every business strategy.

Regarding the  finding the right name/logo and in future proper use of your  trademark (future brand), International Trademark Association has provided a quick, easy and convenient way to remember how to properly use your trademarks. – ACID test[1]:

  • Adjective – Always use the mark as an adjective, not a noun (“I would like a KLEENEX tissue” not “Hand me a KLEENEX”),
  • Consistent – The mark should be used the same way each time (If you’re using capitals, always use them the same way),
  • Identification – Always indicate that the word is being used as a trademark by using the ® symbol for federally registered trademarks and ™ for unregistered marks,
  • Distincitve – Always display the trademark in a way that separates it from the surrounding text (bold, italics, all caps, or by using one of the foregoing identifiers).

But first…………

UNIQUE IDENTITY – DISTINCTIVENESS

Does your brand posess it? Whatever space or niche your idea is being build on, there’s a great probability that someone (or more likely »alot of them«) has already started building their business on the same grounds as you. The consequences of distinctiveness go much further than meeting the demands by market, to have unique product, but is also set upon us by law (in order to register your trademark, it has to be distincitve – i.e., non-descriptive, otherwise it may cause a confusion on the market).

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Targeting! It plays quite important role at applying for trademark, patent or design protection. While filing for a trademark, a patent or design, you should know any and all dimensions of potential use of the product you want to protect. And getting to know these dimension is much easier if you have a clear idea of:

  1. What kind of market and where is your market you’re aiming at – i.e., who’s going to be using your product, in which field they’re going to be using your product and what are they going to be using it for,
  2. What’s the competition, what is their IP and  what are competitive companies  already offering to their customers. You want others to respect your IP, so respect other’s as well.
  3. A background business case that’s supporting your brand (marketing, sales, financials), cause it is all related to costs.

Unless your products are targeted to whole wide population, don’t try to appeal to everyone. Get to know your audience, understand them, their communication and their interests. Understanding the target market is critical because it provides direction for the tone and reach of a marketing campaign, along with the overall identity of a brand. And saves u a lot of money for unnecessary trademark/patent/design protection. You only register where you will actively use it and defend it.

CONSISTENCY

Marketing of your brand must be consistent. Whether it’s online, for example Facebook marketing, or any other kind of it. Trademarks gain value when used consistently, legally and under control, that is why many companies have their guidelines on their web pages, e.g LEGO https://www.lego.com/en-us/legal/notices-and-policies/fair-play They won’t let their trademarks to be used against their branding architecture, without permissin and with no control- look back at ACID test, there is a reason for it. Value.

EXPOSURE

The greater the exposure, the more competitors get to know you and might steal/copy your products. Legally protecting what you’re trying to promote before you start to promote it is your no. 1 priority. Don’t let some random guy make money (and in worst case scenarium push you out of the industry) off of your product, you put countless hours of work in.

COMPETITIVENESS

We could tell you that everyone gets their own, but we’d be lying. The ones who work hard get their own and in the world, saturated with competitive companies, the breakthrough can be hard. For a brand to make a name for itself, team members should thrive on competition and constantly strive to improve. Constantly check for possible upgrades, improvements and apply for an appropriate legal protection, whether it’s trademarks, patents, copyrights … Do researches which include your audience and consider their wishes – then go above and beyond their expectations.

PATIENCE

Rome wasn’t built in a day and so isn’t a successful, firm brand. We can conclude that while building a successful brand isn’t a simple thing to do, paying attention to your customers’ wishes and considering what we wrote above certainly isn’t hard. But even if you take into account everything we talked about, not committing to legal protection of your IP means playing a very dangerous game in which (at least in our opinion) you don’t want to participate. Successful companies worldwide have whole teams established, organized and funded especially for IP protection. Take them as an example, but don’t be discourged if you do not have money- you do not need a lot, you just need strategic decision and start slowly-you can always expand and improve your legal/IP protection. But you have to start somewhere.

So, what about you? How are you going to protect and improve your brand? Brainstorming starts… Now!


[1] https://www.stites.com/resources/trademarkology/use-your-trademarks-properly-with-intas-acid-test