Written By: Brandy Miller | July 12, 2017 | No Comments

This week’s theme is “Brand”.  Every company has a brand, whether you are aware of it or not.  When people see your name or your company’s name, and they have any opinion about it at all, that’s your “brand”.  This word of mouth reputation is essential to developing and keeping a successful business.

This is why big companies spend significant time developing their brand.  This significant time, effort, and funding spent on developing a brand is to ingrain that brand in the heads of the potential customers.  Trademarks are usually an essential part of this branding, but it doesn’t have to be.  Companies spend significant money to make sure that when you see a trademark, you think of that company’s image or the quality of their product.  If I told you that I will give you a Coca Cola or a burger from Burger King, you probably already know how those products will taste, and most likely have already pictured those companies’ trademarks in your head as you were thinking about their products.  That’s branding.  In an ideal situation, any company will want their industry synonymous with their company’s name and a positive feeling about quality in the heads of everyone.  If you achieve that goal, you have an amazingly successful company.

But developing a brand is not the private domain of the rich.  My office practices trademark law, and I have a discussion about trademarks and how to use them with most start up business owners.  The response I get is often that they are too small to have anyone else stealing their brand, so they don’t need to worry about such problems.  The problem with this way of thinking is that when you do nothing to develop your brand and the way customers think about your company, you allow your competitors to develop this narrative for you.  That’s not a successful way of doing business.  Conversely, if you carefully develop your own brand, you are controlling how potential customers view you.  That’s invaluable.

Also, most business owners think this won’t happen to them, but having another business copy or imitate your company’s logo or trademark is commonplace once you become successful.  It’s an easy way to generate more customers before putting the work in to developing their own brand-just steal the customers other companies have worked hard to earn while building their business.  This is why understanding the ways your company’s image is delivered to potential customers and filing for trademark protection is a smart way to assure your business continues to thrive.

Intellectual property is a valuable asset to your company’s asset list.  When sales of businesses occur, it’s usually the trademarks and the related goodwill that buyers are after, because that’s how your customers have learned to find quality work.  Learn ways that you can establish your brand, and take the time to establish and develop your company’s brand and image.  Once you have done this, make sure you give legal protection to your brand through trademarking and other techniques to assure that other companies cannot imitate your company and take customers that you have earned through years of hard work.  They say a man is only as good as his word.  Well, if that’s true, then a company is only as good as its brand.  Develop and protect your company’s brand as part of your daily business activities.