While your logo reflects who you are and gives people something tangible to latch onto, branding itself is far deeper and more complex than this simple design. Your logo is a representation of what you stand for, an easily recognisable reminder of the quality of your product and the emotional attachment that customers have for it.
Branding is integral to your product or service – it defines who you are, what your customer can expect and what separates you from your competitors. In essence, it is the personality behind the image.
How people associate with your brand can be intentional because of your corporate identity and marketing strategy, or it can be accidental, often unintentional, for instance when a negative news story or review appears about your product. Over a period of time consumers will learn to associate your product with a number of positive and negative feelings and ideas.
If you sell a luxury product or service, consumers will come to see it as something exclusive that they want to have because it is high quality and possessing it or using it sets them apart from the people around them. The product will appeal to a certain type of person while others may see it as an unnecessary expense. In other words, your brand means different things to different people.
Your brand is a promise of a particular experience to your consumers. It can include a wide range of things including exclusivity of design, excellence in customer service and high standards. It is something that is hard won over time, not created by chance but from an effective and well thought out strategy.
It is also something that you need to protect.
Like most reputations, your brand may take time to develop and fix in the consumers mind, but it can also take just a few moments to unravel and damage. While a bad review or news story can have a negative effect on your brand, you can also find yourself at the mercy of those who want to copy what you do and jump on the band wagon of your success.
Protect Your Brand – Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property rights provide legal protection for some important parts of branding such as the name, logo, domain name and even products. Registering intellectual property rights gives you a certain amount of control over your brand and stops others from getting a free ride on the back of your success.
Protect Your Brand – The Difference between Trademark and Copyright
A registered trademark is a sign that separates your product or service from your competitors. It can be a logo or words or a combination of both. A trademark can be used to help people recognise your product or service and needs to be registered with the Intellectual Property Office to have legal protection.
Copyright is more wide ranging, protecting your creative endeavours such as writing, music, and artwork and can be applied to things such as logos, packaging, and promotional literature. Copyright does not protect an idea but a fixed body of work in any medium. In other words, if you have written a book and someone makes an audio copy without your permission they are infringing the copyright. Unlike a trademark, copyright does not have to be applied for.
Successful branding is an important and powerful tool in your businesses armoury and protecting it helps maintains your identity in the marketplace. You can find out more about how to do this from the Intellectual Property Office website set up by the government.
Earlier this year I took the time to register both our logo and name with the IPO giving us peace of mind as we continue to grow and develop that our own brand is secure and protected…