The Growth Series
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How to safeguard your brand

Your brand and your trading name are central to your identity.

That’s because everything from your company name to the colour scheme and font you use on your marketing literature says something about who you are and what you’re all about.

Ultimately, your brand should represent the products you offer, the service you provide, your reputation and your trustworthiness.

These are among the most difficult assets to acquire and develop, so it’s really important to actively protect them from misuse and infringement.

Carry out trademark research

If you’re naming a business, a subsidiary or product, check to see whether your name is unique. 

Your research shouldn’t be limited to other businesses in your field, as a similar name can still invite conflicts with companies in completely different sectors.

Register your trademarks

Once you’ve come up with a distinctive name and have decided to press ahead with it, make sure you register it properly. 

This gives you legal ownership of the name and grounds to defend it if necessary, which could be important if someone else inadvertently comes up with a similar name to yours or impersonates you for malicious purposes.

Read more: The importance of brand for brokers

Monitor trademark databases

Make sure you keep an eye on trademark databases to make sure other businesses aren’t using a similar name to yours.

Purchase relevant domain names

Competitors and fraudsters could set up websites with domain names that sound similar to your brand name in order to divert traffic from your site and trick people into visiting theirs instead.

You should therefore purchase similar domains, so there’s little to no confusion or chance of potential clients being sent elsewhere.

For example, if your website is your brand name followed by .co.uk, make sure you purchase .org and .com extensions too.

Clearly outline terms of use of your branding

You want to be in full control over how, where and why your branding is used, so you can be sure it is being utilised appropriately and in a way that reflects your company values and ethos.

With that in mind, it’s important to create strong contracts, with the terms of use clearly laid out.

Search online for mentions of your brand

Look online, including search engines and social media platforms, to make sure that nobody is misusing or impersonating your brand.

Be prepared to enforce your rights

If you discover any instances of trademark infringement or unauthorised use of your brand and trading name, you should be willing to send cease and desist letters and take legal action if necessary.

Maintain brand consistency

Protecting your brand doesn’t just mean safeguarding it from impersonation and misuse. It also involves building up and preserving any goodwill and equity you’ve earned over the years among your peers and client base.

You should therefore make sure you’re using consistent branding across all channels, from your website to leaflets, so you can create and maintain a robust and recognisable brand identity.

Read more: Sense check your business to drive success

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