Trademark Basics

Posted in Branding, Agency Life

How Create a Strong Brand for Your Company

When it comes to branding your new business, there are a lot of things to consider. Of course, there’s the task of coming up with a company name, but there’s also branding your products and services, as well as potential slogans or tag lines to consider. And then there’s your trademark, but what exactly is a trademark? It’s what identifies your company’s goods and services in the form of any word or a combination of words. Trademark portfolios for your business can include the name of your business, the brand names for your products and services, and any type of tag line or slogan you want to use to market your company.

When it comes to trademarks, it’s important to understand how to create one that is strong and will really showcase your company while making it stand out amongst your competition. It’s also a good thing to remember that not all trademarks are created equal. Not everything can be legally protected as a trademark, while some are much stronger than others in the same line of products and services. If you don’t do your research while branding your company and trademark, you may end up having to start all over with a company name, re-brand, or even end up having to face costly legal proceedings. So, let’s take a look at how you can come up with a strong and successful trademark.

Avoid Generic Branding Terms or Names

A generic name means using everyday item to describe your product or services. For instance, popcorn, pizza, or beer are generic words; they are simplistic and can be used by just about anyone and these types of generic words cannot be trademarked. This is because generic words only define a product or service, they don’t put forth a brand name or insight into what type of product or service you’re offering other than that generic term. It’s okay to use the word within your branding, but you need to make sure you use creative means to incorporate it so that you’ve created a brand, not something that will be deemed as generic. Customers are looking for new and exciting…not generic.

Go for a Strong Trademark

When you’re considering the branding of your company, it’s important to consider strong trademark options. The stronger the name and brand, the more leverage you’re going to have at not only getting your trademark approved, but also in getting your brand out there and able to compete.  Trademarks can actually be graded on a spectrum and there are five categories to label a potential trademark on this spectrum. They are fanciful (the strongest), followed by arbitrary (strong), then suggestive (medium strength), descriptive (weak), and then generic (which offers no protection under trademark laws.

Descriptive trademarks can be protected, but aren’t exactly a strong way to go. Descriptive trademarks are the types that describe goods or services, but don’t distinguish them from any other goods or services. Using surnames and geographical references are a few examples of using a descriptive trademark, but when it comes to descriptive trademarks and rights, they can be very limited since they are near the spectrum of being generic. So, try avoiding descriptive words and terms when thinking about your branding.

Suggestive trademarks are ones that point out an attribute or benefit of a specific good or service, however, they do not describe those goods or services, which makes them a bit stronger than the descriptive trademarks. Suggestive trademarks are a good idea if you want to make the consumer think about your product or services. They require imagination and thought so the consumer will be able to reach a conclusion about what your brand has to offer.

When considering the branding of your company, it's important to consider strong trademark options. Click To Tweet

Arbitrary trademarks are trademarks that use a word or phrase that doesn’t describe or hint at what the product or service of the company is. The trademark may use a word or phrase that is commonly known, but has no relation to the actual brand.

Fanciful or coined trademarks are the strongest among trademarks. These trademarks are made up or words or phrases that have no other meaning except as a brand name. That’s because they didn’t exist until they were invented by you, the business owner. Obviously, this type of trademark takes the most creativity and innovation, but that means you’ll also have the strongest type of trademark and a strong foundation to build your business upon that will set you apart from your competitors.

So, remember when it comes to producing your company’s trademark, stay away from generic words and phrases. You’re aiming for a strong brand that will engage potential customers and make them remember your company’s name.  While you’re trying to come up with your trademark, don’t get too hung up on the whole trademark spectrum that will only add more stress to the process. Let the naming and trademark process come naturally as you mull over how you want your business to be perceived and received by the general public and if you’re having a hard time with it, you can always consult with a trademark. Either way, be sure that your new trademark is strong and will represent your brand as a business owner.