Part I of this mini-blog series focused on how to ensure your trademark keeps its status as a source identifier for years and years to come. However, there is so much more to ensuring you are using your trademark to the best of your ability! Trademarks are long-lasting investments that, with the proper care, can make or break your business.
Be Consistent in Your Trademarks and Branding
When it comes to trademarks—and branding schemes as a whole—consistency is your best friend. Consistency will not only ensure long-standing cohesion between trademarks and your overall brand, it will also help to strengthen your trademarks overtime. The stronger your trademark, the broader scope your trademark rights are, and consequently, the better of an asset your trademark can be. Once you begin operating in the market, your brand will be competing against thousands upon thousands of other brands. Being consistent and cohesive in your trademark use and branding will help increase customer recognition of your brand.
Trademarks also help convey important information—such as reputation, goodwill, etc.—about your company in a simple and cost-effective manner. Consistent branding will also help reinforce your identity in the marketplace by reinforcing your unique position in the market. All companies must differentiate themselves one way or another; trademarks are great tools to do just that.
A Few Simple Ways to Maintain Consistent Usage of Your Trademarks
First, proper usage is as simple as maintaining consistent font styles, sizes, and colors. If you decide your trademark will be IN ALL CAPS, make sure it is IN ALL CAPS every time you use it. This will help make sure you are distinguishing it from the other information you are providing.
Second, before launching a fanciful logo as part of your trademarks and branding scheme, make sure you are sure this will be the logo you would like to use for some time to come. While companies are certainly entitled to change their trademarks and logos with time, these changes should be minor and attempt to maintain the overall “look and feel” of the company’s original logo. A great example of this is Apple’s® half-eaten apple logo:
Importantly, throughout the “evolution” of its logo, Apple® maintained the overall “look and feel” of the apple’s shape and format, but changed the color over time.
Another good example of trademark and brand consistency—and the benefits of it—is Nike’s® logo evolution:
Nike®, while making small updates and changes, maintained the overall “look and feel” of its logo, which allowed it to gain considerable strength in the market place. Its strength in the original logo allowed Nike® to eventually use the “solo swoosh” as a trademark and maintain consumer recognition. This truly demonstrates the value and benefits of maintaining consistency overtime.
Third, if you own a company that licenses use of its trademarks, it is important to have trademark and brand guidelines that govern third-party use of your trademarks. The worst thing a trademark owner can do is to allow unlicensed, unauthorized uses of the trademarks by third parties. This not only compromises the rights you have to the actual trademark, but it will almost certainly hurt brand consistency if people are using the trademark however they choose.
However you look at it, consistent usage of your trademarks is necessary to optimize your trademark rights. The benefits are plenty and the potential consequences can be lethal to your trademark and your brand.
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