With the advent of the internet and digital channels, it is more important now than ever to create a rock solid brand identity that can stand out from the oversaturation of our digital age. Information travels faster than ever, and making sure the information about your brand is consistent is a great way to legitimize your business, create brand loyalty, and keep customers informed. Luckily, there are some clear and actionable steps you can take to achieve just that.
Trademarks and Protected Web Content
A great way to protect your brand is to trademark it. This can be accomplished through the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, or online at uspto.gov. The process can be complex though, especially when you start looking at overseas trademark law, so talking to a lawyer familiar with trademark law is suggested.
However a trademark is only the first step to protecting your brand legally. Other important steps are to create an account with DMCA and set up Google alerts so that you can be notified when your brand name is being used, and file DMCA claims when it is being used incorrectly or illegally.
Copyright or Patent Your Intellectual Property
Copyrighting or patenting your intellectual property is another important step to take to ensure your work and products are protected. Once you have created a tangible expression of your idea you own the copyright, but going and having it legally registered at the copyright office can safeguard you from headaches later on. The same applies to patents. Even if you are not ready to officially patent a design, you can get a patent pending credential.
A consistent brand identity will affect the way people think about your brand, so having consistent branding will give you credibility and keep customers from getting confused. A great way to do this is to develop brand guidelines to ensure that all print, digital, marketing, and promotional material is consistent across the board and is consistent with your brands mission. Brand guidelines can be as in depth as you like, some businesses go so far as to only use certain fonts in emails. It is also important to make sure guidelines are also expressed internally with staff so that the delivery of your brand’s message is more consistent and effective to customers.
Control Your Brand’s Narrative
There are a multitude of readily accessible media channels that you can use to get the word out about your business, and using them effectively can bring awareness to your brand. However, it is important that you understand how the media, influencers, or journalists will talk about your brand and control it the best you can. Inevitably you will need to relinquish some control to the presenter, but providing relevant, clear, and concise information about your brand’s story can help steer them in the right direction.
Consider a Corporation
Creating a corporation or LLC out of your brand can be another great way to protect your brand. It can serve to bring legitimacy to your brand, separate you from your business (both legally and figuratively), and can strengthen your brand’s name.
Steps For any Business
These are just a few steps you can take to protect your business and create a brand with the lasting power of the greats. So, if you are a small startup, a successful business owner, or thinking of starting a business, take these tips into consideration and maybe make adjustments in your brand identity to create a stronger and more consistent brand.