Whether you’re running a team of solicitors in Albury-Wodonga or a cosmetic tattoo studio in the heart of Melbourne, effective branding is crucial if you want to thrive. Good branding adds personality, relatability, and authority to your business, giving customers a reason to choose you over your competitors.
Branding can also be a tricky element to get right as it entails far more than just the crafting of your brand. You must also ensure you don’t infringe on the intellectual property rights of others while protecting your own. To help you in this endeavour, we’ve developed an easy-to-follow list of tips for building and safeguarding your brand identity.
1. Register your domain name
The last thing you want is to invest your time and money into developing a brand only to discover that someone else has registered the domain name. So, it’s crucial to research domain names and other business names before you name your brand to ensure you’ll be able to select the ideal domain. Note that .com and .com.au domains tend to be viewed as more authoritative by Google and by potential customers.
Once you’ve selected your business name and domain name, it’s crucial to register that domain. Even if you don’t plan to build your website just yet, having that domain will secure your brand identity.
2. Consider trademarking your business name and logo
There’s no law stating that you have to do this. However, trademarking your name and logo will give you added protection in case someone uses a business name or logo that’s identical or confusingly similar. Note that there will be costs involved, so it’ll be up to you to determine whether it’s worth the investment.
3. Use your brand elements consistently
Once you’re up and running, it’s crucial to use your branding consistently across your website, social media, and marketing materials. This protects your brand identity by giving you a strong and recognisable presence in your industry. From such a foundation, you’ll find it easier to enforce your trademark rights, as you’ll have a clear record to use as evidence in any legal disputes.
As a bonus, consistent use of your branding elements will distinguish your business from others and establish you as a dependable, well-known brand.
4. Monitor your brand
To protect your intellectual property, it’s important to monitor how your brand is being used by others. You don’t have to dedicate hours a week to this task. Instead, you can largely automate it by setting up Google alerts for your business name and other relevant keywords. Similarly, you can use social media monitoring tools to track mentions of your brand.
In addition to these automated methods, schedule in time to regularly search for your business name and products or services. You can also enter your logo and any other marketing images you own into a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see if anyone is using them without permission.
5. Address any infringements swiftly
If you find that someone is infringing on your intellectual property rights, do not delay in taking action. Start by collecting evidence of the infringement, and then have a lawyer draft a cease and desist letter. If this doesn’t work, you may have to take legal action.
Each of these steps is an action you can take as a business owner to protect your brand identity and trademarks. However, it’s important to be able to recognise when something is over your head, and in those cases, seek legal advice. Master this balance, and your brand will be in good hands.