The following is an edited transcript of my video, 7 Keys to Branding Success.
I get asked all the time, “What are the key things I need to know to make my brand successful, to make my trademark successful and protected?” There are a lot of different things that go into making it successful or giving it the best chance of success. Today, I’ve distilled it down to seven keys for branding success. And that’s no accident because the word success has seven letters – or seven key strokes – on your keyboard.
S. START thinking about brand protection from the beginning. That means you can’t just come up with a brand name in a vacuum without thinking about: “Is it protectable? Are the domain names available? Have I searched it? Is it unique in the industry? Is it hopefully not descriptive or generic?” All of these things. You need to start from the outset when you’re thinking of a new product, a new service, and the brand that goes with it, you need to start thinking about the protection right away.
U. USE it properly. That really enhances not only the protection legally by making the brand’s name stand out and using the proper symbol, but it also helps it resonate with customers – that this is something that you created that’s special, that you’ve put time and effort into protecting, into perhaps creating a logo that goes with it. So you want to make it stand out. Whether it’s capital letters, or bold, or italics, or a different color, or a logo, make it stand out as much as possible when you use your brand.
C. CREATIVE names are bolder and better. This seems intuitive, but I can’t say it enough. If you choose a boring, common, or descriptive brand name, it’s going to be hard to protect, and it’s going to be hard to differentiate yourself from the competition. The Corner Deli could be on any corner. There could be somebody just down the block that has Joe’s Corner Deli. It’s not going to stand out. You need a name that really is creative, and bold, and differentiates itself if you want branding success.
C. CLEARANCE search. When you’re coming up with a new name, you want to do the things mentioned before. And, you want to make sure that you do a full, complete clearance search to make sure that it is available and protectable. And then, as soon as the clearance search is done, you want to move into the next step.
E. EARLY filing for trademark registration. File based on intent to use if possible, as soon as you commit to this name and you’ve cleared it with a search.
S. SHIELD against infringers when needed. That means, if you find that someone’s copying your brand, or someone’s using your brand in a way that you didn’t authorize or give permission to – or perhaps it’s a domain name or a social media handle – you want to take action and deal with that to mitigate the consequences. If you let that go unchecked, it’s going to weaken your brand. It’s going to make it harder to stop other infringers or problems in the future.
And finally, the last S in SUCCESS: work with a SPECIALIST. Working with someone who is experienced and a professional in the industry of brand protection and trademarks is going to vastly improve your odds and chances for success. Work with a specialist, it’s the last key to branding success, and really helps tie it all together.