Written by: Lori Wade
When you develop a brand that is popular with consumers, you also make it more susceptible to infringement. Therefore, you need to create a brand where your trademark (a name, logo, or phrase) is closely aligned with your goods and services. Don’t just add a trademark to add it.
Make sure your trademark is integrated into your marketing plan.
When creating your brand or trademark, you need to closely research the competition. Look at the current trademarks in your locale to see if they are similar to the brand you want to convey. If you have not decided on a trademark, strive to cultivate a distinct company name that is truly unique. Use words or symbols that cannot be easily adopted by another company offering similar products or services. For example, the brand LEXUS is undoubtedly “distinct” and is immediately understood to be the name of a luxury car brand. As such, it cannot legally be appropriated by other car manufacturers.
Register Your Trademark
Once you decide on a trademark and have researched the current trademarks in your jurisdiction, you should register your brand. Doing so gives you exclusive rights to your trademark – rights you can use to seek damages in case of infringement. By taking this step, you can more easily protect yourself against infringers who wish to use your trademark for commercial gain.
So, how do you register a trademark? The most efficient way of course is to hire a trademark attorney, but the principal idea is that you need to submit a trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and provide information about both the trademark (is it a name, logo, phrase, etc.) and administrative information about yourself, including the name of your company and address. You will also need to designate the goods/services you will be selling under the trademark. Pro tip: broadly describe your goods or services when registering a trademark to enjoy more protection. For example, if you want to trademark a logo, submit a logo without a color claim so you can copy the symbol in various colors rather than a specific color scheme. You will also want to publicize your trademark on social media and the Internet to extend your reach. Register domain names for your brand as well. Give it the exposure it needs online so your products and services can be easily perceived.
Identify Your Market
When thinking of a brand for your products or services, you need to identify your market. Narrow the focus on who you want to reach so you can better support your brand image. Ask your target audience about their own perception of your brand. Doing so can help you paint your brand and business so you can establish it in the marketplace.
Distinguish Individual Products with Unique Names
When developing a trademark strategy, please consider that your company may very well benefit from the establishment of a unique brand identity for each product line. For example, if you are in the Supplement business and you sell three different types of nutritional smoothies, one that promotes energy, the second that promotes sleep, and a third that helps with indigestion, each individual product should have a separate and unique product name which can be trademarked.
Be Wary Of Losing “Distinctiveness”
Please note, you can avoid potential trademark problems down the line by making sure your trademark cannot be used as a verb. For example, people often comment they are going to “Google” something online; however, what they really mean to say is that they intend to search for something online. This is potentially problematic because of a key trademark principle, which states that the moment a trademark becomes generic, or loses its ability to identify the source-company of the trademark, it is no longer trademarkable. Thus, if a person says that he/she intends to “Google” something, but really means to search for something perhaps using a different search engine, “Google” is no longer a term which represents a specific search engine but rather the generic action of searching for something using any search engine.
Develop a Powerful Brand and Make it Known
Your principle objective should be to create an incredible brand and make it famous, ubiquitous, and salient across your entire company narrative. Produce branded content in the form of blogs, e-books, and videos. By associating your products/services with a variety of media, you can build better customer relations and gain the trust of your audience. Focus your efforts on producing video content that features (even subtly) your products and you will be able to strengthen the psychological and emotional connection between your customers and brand. Branding is critical because it builds customer loyalty and underscores your authority in the marketplace. By using well-thought-out marketing methods, you can continue to support your brand, giving it those distinctive qualities that will make it stand out both locally and internationally.
So, what have you done to promote your company’s brand? Have you used branded content to emphasize the quality of your products or services? By registering your trademark, you can direct your energies toward building the type of brand that will help you realize your mission of offering one-of-a-kind services and/or products.
Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. She is a content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of business. If you are interested in an entrepreneur or lifestyle, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn. She has good experience and knowledge in the field.