Protecting your Brand
Written on the 11 April 2013 by Brendan MaskeyMost small business owners will know the importance of quality and targeted marketing. Hence many marketing strategies for small business consist of developing a single logo, slogan, or title that is highly attractive, distinctive and capable of broad application. A lot of effort and expense can be put into developing that perfect logo and title that can be used on every business asset, such as shop fronts, vehicles, brochures, business cards, websites, domain names, and email addresses for example.If you have created your own brand, I’m sure you would probably remember going berserk putting your newly developed logo and title on everything and anything. And why shouldn’t you? You’ve endured an exciting but nerve wrecking investment getting the look of the business perfect – and the whole world should know about it! Right? Well, imagine having that experience destroyed because you didn’t check if you had the right to use that fantastic logo, slogan or title. Imagine having to remove every piece of marketing paraphernalia because you unknowingly infringed other trader’s intellectual property.
It happens. And when it does, it’s devastating. All the time and money spent on the development of your brand will be thrown away. But that’s just the beginning. You may have to recall significant quantities of product already distributed to wholesalers and retailers. You will have to change all vehicle decals, uniforms, letterheads, store fronts, and advertising. The goodwill you may have developed in that brand – the most valuable asset to most small businesses – may be destroyed.The foregoing nightmare must be avoided. The cost of fighting trade mark, copyright and other intellectual property (IP) infringement proceedings will often be prohibitive for small business.
It can be easily avoided by involving an IP specialist during your brand or marketing development. An IP specialist can:1. Protect your new brand through registration of trade marks etc;
2. Search registered trade mark databases (Australian and international) for possible conflicting trade marks etc. before you commit to the brand;3. Advise on how to avoid conflict if other trader’s logo, brand, title or slogan appears similar to your existing brand;
4. Advise you on how to properly use your logo, title and slogan to ensure that the protection afforded to your new brand is not diminished over time;
5. Advise on a domain name strategy to avoid infringement and to optimise your online visibility; and6. Advise on how to enforce you intellectual property rights quickly, cost effectively and appropriately.
The cost of having an IP specialist involved in even a small marketing program is surprisingly cost effective. The cost of rebranding and intellectual property litigation will dwarf the cost of early specialist assistance. The value of a well protected brand and marketing campaign cannot be underestimated. If done correctly, the investment of early IP advice will be quickly realised in the value of your brand and business.
So allow enough room in your next marketing budget to protect the your beloved brand. Its money well spent.
Copyright Zoom in Business 2013
Author: Brendan Maskey