I went to a seminar at Sci-Tech Daresbury last month given by Kerry Howl from Fogg & Associates and Mike Shaw from Marks and Clerk patent attorneys. Here are some snippets.
Kerry talked about the three phases of creating a brand: – discover, develop and deliver.
The discovery phase is finding out what your customers and colleagues think the business stands for. It’s also about finding out what your competitors stand for and how that compares with your business. Exploring and testing these findings will help you refine your ideas until you have the core statement of your brand. Once you have that you can go to the development phase.
The development stage involves telling your brand story and writing a brief from which a brand and brand guidelines can be developed. At this point you should consider protecting your brand.
Delivering the brand – telling the world about your brand is the third phase. It’s not the end, though, because as with all things, nothing stands still. The cycle of launch, maintain, optimise and re-launch begins.
What is likely to be involved in brand protection?
Firstly, search for brands like yours. A simple UK search can be done on the UKIPO website. This is for trademarks only and a more comprehensive search that covers domain names, common usage etc. may be worthwhile.
Registering the rights to use your brand is next step. There are many aspects of a brand that can be registered. Not only the device (the logo) but also slogans and tag lines (Have a Break Have a Kit Kat), shapes (the Coke Cola bottle), colours (Cadburys’ purple), sounds (Intel Inside jingle) etc..
Not only must you consider what to register but also the geography, the language implications and the products and services your brand will be associated with.
Brands are not as expensive as patents can be. In the UK a trade mark registration costs £170. Unlike patents that have a finite life, a brand can always be protected. Trade mark registration can be renewed into infinity (and beyond).
I’m hoping to run a seminar on creating brand value in July with a couple of colleagues. I’ll keep you posted.