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We know that in today’s competitive marketplace just offering a great product or service will no longer cut it. For a business to be successful, a fantastic product must also be paired with a fantastic brand to represent it. When you are just starting out as a small business owner, conceptualising, establishing and implementing measures to protect a brand can be a daunting and expensive process. However, as your brand is intrinsically linked to your business identity, it is a process from which no entrepreneur is exempt.
Your brand is the face of your business and as such, should set you apart from your competitors by creating a unique ‘voice’ which reflects your company’s vision, mission, and values. It can be helpful to conceptualise your brand as your reputation – an invaluable asset that helps you to attract new customers, create awareness of your products or services and establish trust and loyalty among your existing customer base.
How are you going to create and keep an amazing brand?
Creating a brand is easy, but creating a great brand can be a little more difficult. A great brand has three defining characteristics, so try and keep these in mind when constructing your brand identity:
- Be distinctive: brand names shouldn’t describe goods and services but be distinct in order to make your business stand out from your competitors.
- Have a clear image: make your ideas clear and concise. Weak and confused messaging will do little to help you propel your business. Make sure your brand and communication is strong and uniform
- Use ingenuity: a good brand is memorable, not generic. Do not be afraid to give your brand personality and be willing to try something different!
It is important to remember that a brand is not a logo, an image or even a slogan alone – these are simply tools which can help you to promote your brand message. A brand is an all-encompassing experience for a customer. It is less about how many times you advertise your name or promote your logo and more about the story your brand tells and the way it makes your customers feel.
Once established your brand will quite quickly become one of your businesses most valuable assets, if not the most valuable so protecting it is paramount. So with that said, once you’ve established your brand the question you now must ask is: How do I protect it?
Brand protection involves the implementation of a number of measures to protect your brand and prevent another entity from copying your products or your brand identity and profiting from it.
The following are some essential tips to keep in mind when developing a brand protection strategy:
- Register a trade mark: one of the most effective ways to protect your brand in the marketplace. Once registered it is important to ensure you actively use it to prevent your trade mark being considered for removal from the register for non-use.
- Watch and monitor the market: monitoring the marketplace for trademark infringement should form part of your brand protection strategy. Observation of competitors and new entities operating in the same market as you will allow to you to deal swiftly with any threats or infringements if they arise and protect the value of your brand.
- Enforce your rights: with a registered trademark comes an enforceable right to protect it. If you become aware of another entity trying to register a similar trade mark or committing a trademark infringement, you have a right to respond. You can do this by initiating opposition proceedings to oppose similar trade marks to yours, sending a cease and desist letter and in serious cases initiating court proceedings.
Remember, you work hard to build a brand so it is important to be proactive and take the right steps to protect it. The best way to implement a strong and effective brand protection strategy tailored to your business needs is to seek the advice of specialist trade mark and brand protection attorney.`
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