3 Spectacular Ways to Mess Up Your Brand From an IP Perspective

January 27, 2012

1:00 pm

If you are just starting a business or creating a new product line or service offering, I bet you’re struggling to come up with a name for it. That’s not surprising—good branding is hard work. It takes dedicated time, thoughtfulness, and research. Here are three sure-fire ways from an intellectual property perspective that can really mess up your brand.

Pick a name or theme that’s not special
Novices tend to pick words and phrases that don’t help their business stand out among their competitors. You need to pick words that don’t automatically evoke a mental association to the type of product or service you provide. For instance “Social Media Cabinet” is descriptive and bad branding for a social media management tool. “Hootsuite,” with its owl logo, Owling contests, HootKits, and ow.ly/ URL shortener, rocks the branding game.

Forget what your brand is about
What are your company’s core values? Do you give your users excellent service—are you the Nordstrom of social media tools—or do you provide the most sophisticated social media team management and analysis tool on the market? Whatever your differentiator is, it should match up with your brand and every interaction you have with your customers and the public.

Brand like an Ostrich
Do you know what happens to an Ostrich with its head in the sand?  Well, maybe you don’t, because I hear that this story is an old myth. But the idea is that they imagine that when they have thrust their head and neck into a concealed place their entire body is concealed. Don’t create a brand and then ignore it (like an Ostrich). Instead, you should use it on your marketing materials, make it part of your pitches, and tell your customers what it says about your company and the people who work there.

Do you have great branding stories? I’d love to hear them. You can find me on Twitter @antigonepeyton or contact me through our website. The best branding story might make it into a future blog post.

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Antigone is a recovering BIGLAW lawyer who is now the founder and CEO of Cloudigy Law. She is an unabashed technophile who loves her day job because it’s about 50% technology and 50% law. Follow Antigone on Twitter @antigonepeyton.

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