On a bright and early morning, people from local businesses across Birmingham joined us at The Bond in Digbeth for latest SL/CED seminar ‘How to build a brand and protect it’ on Thursday 12th September.
Our SL/CED events are a series of marketing seminars designed to give marketing advice in small, easy-to-digest chunks. They also offer a great opportunity to meet and network with likeminded professionals. We’ve previously ran events on crisis communications, marketing messages, lead generation, social media and websites, but this time we wanted to focus on branding.
In this seminar, we wanted to explore how entrepreneurs, startups and scaleup businesses can take their business, product or idea to the next level and build a brand. We were joined by Nick Palmer and Anne Long from patent and trade mark attorney firm, Forresters to discuss how to protect IP, from the brand assets including company name, logo design, to the tech you’ve or design you’ve created for your products or services.
Digital Glue’s Creative Director, Ben King explored what defines a brand, why it’s important to build a brand, and what makes a good brand. Patent Attorney, Nick Palmer, provided insight on what defines a brand from a legal perspective and what you need to do before you create a brand, how to avoid disputes from competitors in the future, and the different ways you can protect that brand.
If you couldn’t make the seminar, here are a few of our key takeaways:
1. A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product.
A brand is a way for people to identify with your organisation – it’s that gut feeling people have about a product, service or organisation. A brand offers a variety of opportunities to influence a person’s feeling about the organisation itself. It has multiple touch points for customers to interact with and a brand will be established from how customers respond to those touch points.
2. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle
A brand purpose is a way of telling your customers what tension you can resolve in their working or personal life. It’s the reason you do what you do, and why you do it. Having a clearly defined brand purpose is what will connect you to the people most important to you – your ideal customers.
3. Building a brand helps you generate more leads and make a bigger profit
When done right, building a brand can help forge stronger relationships with customers and lead to repeat purchases. Building a brand helps you generate more leads for your business, it helps to get your name out there to your ideal customers. It can help you create a community of brand enthusiasts – think brand ambassadors and influencers. Having a third-party voice promoting your company is a very powerful tool for your business.
Building a brand can also help justify a price premium. Big brands such as Apple, they have a similar product offering to many competitors out there, there isn’t anything particularly innovative about the technology within their products specifically, but their brand has allowed the company to price their products at a higher price point because of that perceived sense of value and quality. Apple have built up a legion of loyal fans through their brand and that loyalty is what also justifies the higher price-points.
4. A trade mark is a badge of origin
A trade mark is something that designates where that brand, product, service, company name etc, has come from, it’s like a badge of origin. When a customer sees a trade mark that’s related to a business they have used in the past, they will have an expectation of what to expect, for example if a business is a restaurant franchise, you go into one you will expect the same service, prices, quality or experience as the others.
5. Look before you leap
Many people go on to design a website, create marketing collateral and start building their brand once they’ve picked their name. But what happens once you’ve made a big investment on creating your brand and then you get a letter from someone’s lawyer explaining that you are using someone else’s brand name, or it’s very similar to that brand name?
If you have a name in mind for your new product range or your new company, check it locally, nationally, and internationally. Remember to think about the long-term plan, where do you see your business in five years’ time? Think about whether it is conceptually or phonetically similar? There may be instances where the name is similar, but the industry is completely different, the best thing to do is always seek advice from patent or trade mark attorney before moving forward.
6. Protect what you create
How do you prevent people from copying what you create? Customers want to be reassured that if they see your brand name, they are buying from you. If someone else was to trade under a similar name and within your target area it can confuse customers and dilute the brand identity you have built up. It’s really important to protect everything you’ve built around your brand to prevent this from happening. Seeking legal advice will enable you to understand how you can enforce your rights. It can be very difficult to protect your brand without registering it and it’s always more expensive to try and fix the problem then it would have to been to have registered the brand beforehand.
Even if you have a brand in place, it’s not too late to protect it and it’s never too early to start reviewing it and making sure you have a brand that connects to your ideal customers and resonates with them.