You are pouring a significant amount of your business budget into building a brand that brings the big bucks from buyers — and that means you are relying on trademarks to develop a reputation that resonates with your target audience. Though “trademark” might not be the marketing buzzword of the moment, you still need to consider how to best utilize trademarks to maximize your branding strategy now and into the future. Here are a few reasons that trademarks still matter and how you can harness them for brand success.
A trademark is the fastest and easiest way for you to communicate with your consumer audience. Consumers who are unfamiliar with your brand should be able to glean information about your business from its name, and past customers will recognize your logo and understand your products, services, values and more. Unlike blocks of text, most trademarks do not need to be translated into different languages, which means your trademarks can carry the same impact across cultures and countries as your company continues to grow.
In a saturated marketplace, trademarks help connect eager buyers with the brands they know and love. Without trademarks, it can be all but impossible to differentiate products from different manufacturers or retailers — but the quality of those products can vary significantly. Thus, the role that trademarks serve in connecting buyers with specific companies is a critical one. If your industry is particularly crowded, you should go above and beyond to develop trademarks that stand out. Then, your customers will have little trouble finding your company and converting again and again.
One of the central tenets of social media marketing is consistency: A brand’s look and message should be coherent across platforms. Such uniformity allows social media audiences to identify a brand and develop comfort with its marketing messages, regardless of where and how they interact. Trademarks make coherence significantly easier to achieve, as they provide companies with go-to names and images for every social network. As a result, brand recognition can skyrocket across social media sites, leading to more effective marketing, more conversions and more business growth. You should work with your social media team in the creation of trademarks that are more likely to be successful on social sites.
As your business grows and develops a positive reputation, the value of your trademarks will radically increase. Because trademarks are how many of your consumers view and interact with your brand, your trademarks will become the symbol of your company’s success. Thus, it is through your trademarks that your business will expand into new markets and industries. You might even face the opportunity to sell or license your trademarks to a bigger brand — or even use them as a security interest to secure a business loan. Investing in your trademarks is a good way to continue investing in your company, even as growth stalls.
In truth, you own your trademarks as soon as you begin doing business under them. However, to avoid any conflicts with other businesses eager to use the same or similar trademarks, you should register your trademarks under your business with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an agency within the Department of Commerce. Filing trademarks is exceedingly affordable and all but guarantees the safety of such critical business assets. At the very least, you should investigate how to trademark a name to avoid the headache of rebranding should your perfect business name be taken by another entrepreneur.
As long as you are using your trademark in U.S. commerce, your trademark never expires. That means, if you build a strong and successful business, your trademarks could endure for your entire lifetime — and beyond. Many entrepreneurs find comfort in the perpetual nature of the business assets they have built, just as writers and artists make creative works with the hope that something of themselves will live on after their own death. Many of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. today were created a century ago, and if your trademark is powerful enough, it could remain a prominent fixture for centuries to come.
Because your trademarks do so much for your business, they deserve a great deal of attention from you — especially at the start of your business. By considering how trademarks benefit your company, you can create a consistently constructive trademark.