Companies strive to achieve excellence through their branding, it’s what separates their products and services from their competitors and they know their consumers can be very brand conscious. Brand image can be one of the most important factors in determining the success of a company which is why it should be protected at all costs.
So what is ‘brand identity’?
A brand, as defined by the American Marketing Association, is a ‘name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.’ Brand identity is how consumers perceive the value, products/services and personality of a company’s brand.
Take McDonald’s for instance, over the years they have developed a phenomenal brand identity. Their golden yellow arches are recognized anywhere in the world, their French fries taste the same in every country and their service quality delivers exactly what consumers expect from a fast food chain every single time. Consumers trust McDonald’s.
A great brand identity allows a company to
- Make a great first impression
- Distinguish you from the competition
- Increase consumer awareness
- Establish loyalty and trust
- Deliver promises
- Inspire employees
How can you protect your brand?
A company invests a lot of time and money to ensure they have great brand identity, therefore it makes sense that they would want to make the same investment protecting their brand from other competitors. Protecting the brand, whether from infringement, copying or misuse, requires expert legal knowledge. Trademark law allows you to register your name, logo and packaging for an indefinite period and patent law allows you to protect your product for a specific number of years.
Do you think Nike would forgo brand protection so that other sporting manufacturers could use their swoosh logo and “Just do it” slogan in their own product branding. Absolutely not. Allowing a competitor to similarly brand their products and confuse consumers into believing they are purchasing a product that delivers the satisfaction of a Nike product would be very poor business practice and result in a dramatic market share decrease. Nike understands the importance of brand protection:
“We utilize trademarks on nearly all of our products and believe that having distinctive marks that are readily identifiable is an important factor in creating a market for our goods, in identifying the Company, and in distinguishing our goods from the goods of others. We consider our NIKE® and Swoosh Design® trademarks to be among our most valuable assets and we have registered these trademarks in over 150 countries. In addition, we own many other trademarks that we utilize in marketing our products. We continue to vigorously protect our trademarks against infringement”
Interesting legal cases
These courtroom battles go to show that companies are willing to spend the big bucks to ensure their brand remains protected not only in the marketplace and but also from their direct competitors.
GUCCI vs GUESS
APPLE vs SAMSUNG
ROLEX vs MELROSE JEWELERS