Now that you have identified your business, you need to ask yourself how protected is my brand? First, do you have a trademark? If you don’t have your business name and business logo trademarked, do it today!
Legally Protect Your Business
You will need to do some preliminary research at www.uspto.gov to make sure your logo or name isn’t already trademarked.
Hopefully no one has trademarked it yet. Once you are in the clear, go ahead and file it yourself or hire an IP attorney. It may be cheaper to do it yourself, but an IP attorney has extensive knowledge that is well worth the extra money.
You will want to file the business name and the brand mark separately. One of the benefits of doing so is if you ever want to change your logo, you won’t have to file your name again because it is not connected.
It’s also advised that you file your logo in black and white because if you ever want to change the color of your logo, you still own the trademark design. The name of the business can be filed as text only, but if the font is stylized and specific, you will want to file it as well because it is unique. Also, if you have any taglines, don’t forget to register those.
After you register, you will need to file a specimen with the USPTO to show that you are using the brand mark and name. A specimen can be anything from the sign you use on your building to the logo on your business cards.
Consistent Brand Image
Once you have filed your trademarks, it is time to follow your own brand guidelines to make sure you portray a stable image for your consumers. A brand should be consistent, so you will want to create brand standards for your business and abide by those. It’s always nice to put together your standards in a brand guidebook so you can reference it when needed. For brands, it is suggested that you choose primary and secondary colors. We like to choose two primary colors, and up to eight secondary colors that go with the color palette.
It’s important to stay true to your logo and color palette to create a consistent and successful brand. You may want to make slightly different versions of your logo for different instances, but you will need to follow a few rules when it comes to changing your brand mark.
• Don’t flip colors
• Don’t add affects
• Don’t rotate the logo
• Don’t distort it
• Don’t place it over blocks of colors
• Don’t add the trademark
By following these guidelines, you will be on your way to creating a trademarked logo and consistent brand. Tomorrow, we will unveil the third step to beating big brands.