The term “branding” originates from the practice of marking cattle with a branding iron to differentiate them from the stock of other farms. But the concept of branding as we understand it today is far removed from those humble origins.
Brands are no longer limited to a logo or name; branding comes in many shapes and forms ranging from colours (think of the iconic Cadbury’s purple), slogans (Nike’s “Just Do It”), curated social media posts (the Samsung celebrity selfie), and even ideologies (Mac vs PC users). Branding also extends beyond what your company creates, because your brand depends on how it is received, perceived and shared by consumers.
It is very difficult to put a specific value on a brand, yet most companies recognise that their brand is the most valuable financial asset that they own. Brands now do a lot more than just differentiate; they create an identity, they inspire trust and loyalty, they build emotional connections with consumers, and they encourage people to choose you over everyone else. Successful branding allows you to influence consumers, and with that power comes great responsibility.
While there is really no limit as to what brands can be, their flexible and intangible qualities mean that we often don’t treat them like physical assets of a business. You probably take steps to insure your office or your stock, but have you thought about how you should be protecting your brand? If you don’t take steps to protect your brand, then you are exposed to the real risk of having your brand stolen, misappropriated and used against you. Similarly, if you don’t conduct proper checks before you start using your brand, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when you find out that you have been infringing someone else’s rights.
Fortunately there are many ways that you can utilise intellectual property and trade mark law to ensure that your brand is legitimate and protected. For a small amount of effort and expense, you can attend to the legal aspects of your branding strategy now, and avoid running into serious problems in the future.
After all, why go to the effort of building a powerful brand, if you aren’t able to brandish that power?
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts which will provide a general overview of the legal options available. If you are after more specialised advice, we can provide tailored services to suit the particular needs of your business, for a fixed price under the Sajen Accord.