Read that again. When everything else is gone, that is ALL that’s left standing.
Good products and good customer service are literally not enough anymore in this market. We’ve all seen it – crappy customer service, subpar product, but because of the brand and the connection with the customers, products still “fly off the shelves”.
We sit down and create our business name, logo, branding colors, etc. This is all part of your brand. It’s what connects you with your potential consumers. But you can’t just develop it. You have to protect it.
IMPORTANT: From the beginning, check your business name to make sure no one else is operating under the same or similar business name offering the same or similar products or services.
Step One: Make sure you own all of your intellectual property. EVERYONE that creates assets and such for your business must sign an intellectual property transfer document.
Step Two: Do the proper searches before advertising a business name, product name, etc. You don’t want to use a business name already in use to avoid confusion, a bad reputation, or worse, legal issues.
Step Three: Register for copyright protections on your logos.
Little cheat sheet: Business name, logos, photos, video, social media content, website content, anything that is created in your business, make sure you own it, that your business owns it. Make sure we are trademarking our business name and logo, and also doing copyright registration on all of our marketing assets. This is ultimate brand protection!
The end result, the end goal of all of this is to protect your brand so that nobody else can capitalize on it, ride on your coattails, impart their bad reputation on you.
Brand protection info you need:
Hey y’all. Welcome to episode 134 of the Business Bites Podcast. I am your host, Rachel Brenke. And today we are chatting a bit about the number one most important thing in your business. As you heard from the intro, it is going to be talking about brand protection, because without a brand, without connection to consumers, without the development of these intangible assets of intellectual property, such as your business name, your logo, your product names, whatever it is that you have, it is the most important thing. Because when everything else is gone, that’s all that’s left standing.
Here’s the reality. Good products and good customer service are literally not enough anymore in this market. They’re just not good enough. There are people out there and you know, you’ve seen them, you’ve heard them, they’ve frustrated you. They may have crappy customer service. They may have a subpar product. But the stuff is flying off the shelves because of the brand that they’ve put out there, the connection they’re making with the consumers, which, you know I would hope that you guys also have a good product and good customer service and a good brand.
But the reality is many are selling subpar products and subpar service under really well-developed brands. And they’re taking the steps to protect those brands. With y’all being listeners of the Business Bites Podcast, I know that you take your business very seriously. Sure, quick education, get in, get out, but just being here shows how important business success is to you.
And here’s my thing. One of the very first things in business that we sit down and we create is our business name, our logo, the branding colors, the feeling that we want our audience to have. When I create an Instagram post, I’m thinking about what y’all are going to feel and take away from it. All of that is part of the brand. And I’ll tell you what, I will do absolutely anything to protect my brand. Because here’s the thing. Your logo, your business name, your marketing assets, such as photo, video, social media, blog posts, content, you name it, those are the mechanisms that are connecting with your potential consumers.
But here’s my big frustration with many of y’all. I’m looking at you, I’m calling you out. Why are you spending more time on develop those things as opposed to protecting them? Because it is so easy.
Before I walk into the steps of protecting your business brand, we need to go through what’s not easy. All right. So let’s say you didn’t do your checks at the very beginning and you’ve been operating under business name. And you didn’t realize that somebody else existed out there that had the same business name for the same or similar products or services. Guess what’s going to happen. You’re going to have to rebrand. So not only will you have to pay to rebrand, have to take the time and effort to rebrand, you’re going to lose that brand value with your existing customers and potential customers, but you also may have to pay out to that individual that had that business name before you, just as an example.
Another thing that’s not easy is having other businesses with bad reputations and having those reputations imparted upon you. So we have a business name and there’s a competitor out there with the same or similar name, selling same or similar products or services, but they have really shitty product or really bad customer service. Guess what? We don’t want them to have a same or similar name. A, our consumers are going to be confused at who to buy from. And B, they might look and see that crappy product and attribute it to me. And we definitely don’t want to do that.
Like I’ve already mentioned, we don’t want to be stopped from having to use the brand we develop. But guess what, if you didn’t do the proper checks, you never actually owned it to begin with. And also we don’t want to have confusion between businesses. That just makes the consumer confused and overwhelmed and unsure what to do. Plus the bad reputation piece that we’ve already talked about.
So here’s the steps that I want y’all to walk through when you’re sitting down and going, “All right, Rachel, I got it, brand protection time. Let’s do this.”
First, we want to make sure that you own all of your intellectual property. We need to have everyone that creates assets and such for our business to sign an intellectual property transfer document. Yes, even your employees. Yes, your logo designer. Yes, all of that. We want to make sure that we own it all so that we can protect it. Think about it in this example. And by the way, I’m going to link the related podcast episode on this point into the show notes. So make sure you head over there.
But let’s say we got a logo created from an independent contractor, whether they’re on Fiverr, Upwork or their friend down the street. By default in the United States, they own that logo. They could stop you from using that logo any time. Unless it’s contractually agreed to, for to transfer the rights from that creator to you, you don’t own your brand. They also can turn around and give that same logo to other people, including your competitors. We obviously don’t want that.
So the first step is we want to make sure that we own all the intellectual property; your logos, the photos that you’re putting on your Instagram and your website, the texts that you’re creating, the products that you’re developing, all of that. So we want to have the intellectual property transfer document or an acknowledgement document, which we do have at rachelbrenke.com, FYI. We want to have it in place because we want to own and be able to control all of these intangible assets in our business.
The second step is we need to make sure we do the proper searches before advertising and business name, program name, product name, et cetera. Like I’ve already mentioned, we don’t want confusion, we don’t want bad reputation, we don’t want to have to rebrand, we don’t want to have to pay someone else for the use of that name. So you’re going to want to make sure you do the proper researches. I highly recommend hiring a law firm to do this for you because they have systems that can really dig into all areas.
But if you want to do a superficial search, you can do things like searching the Google. The Google. I said it. The Google. For search engine optimization isn’t always best for many sites, so Google may not always be your best bet. We also want to make sure we check state corporations commissions. But are you really going to sit and check all 50? Nope. We can have someone else do that for you.
Also, you want to check the uspto.gov website. That’s the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The problem is the system’s not foolproof. It is very finicky and there’s a strategy way that you need to use it. So even going on there and searching your own business name to see what’s up or an alternate name, you may not always get the results you need. That’s definitely where you need some help. But just a little tip. You can do that to make sure that you’ve done the proper search and evaluation before advertising that business name or program name, et cetera.
Next step we want to consider is registering for copyright protections. So far I’ve been talking about primarily trademarking. Trademarking is protecting your logo or business name, et cetera, as the source indicator of your business. So when you see an Apple logo for Apple computers, you know that that computer is coming from Apple. That is a connection. Same with Louis Vuitton. You know the print, it’s on the bag. Unless it is a counterfeit, it’s coming from Louis Vuitton and you expect a certain level of quality.
Now we’re shifting into the third step, which is registering for copyright protections on your logos. I know. There’s a crossover here. Your photographs, your videos, and all your content as well. Copyright protection is protecting the actual product, the actual creation itself. All right? So if we have photographs that we’re using in our marketing, we want to protect them through copyright protections. We have a logo, we actually want to do copyright registration to protect the design itself, but we also want to register it as a trademark to protect it as in connection to our specific products or services. Why? We already talked about. We want to make sure there’s no confusion and that we’re not infringing upon somebody else.
And last but not least, let’s just combine all of this together, what you need to sit down and do right now. You want to identify to make sure that you own all the intellectual property in your business. Little cheat sheet, I’ve said it multiple times now, but I’ll just say it really quickly. Business name, logos, photos, video, social media content, website content, anything that is created that in your business, visual or texts, if it’s originally created, make sure that you own it, that your business owns it. And then we also want to make sure that we are trademarking our business name and our logo, and that we’re also doing copyright registration on all of our marketing assets.
The end result, the end goal of all of this is to protect your brand so that nobody else can capitalize on it, ride on your coattails, impart their bad reputation on you. Or also, just to ensure that you’re not infringing upon anybody else. Because I’ll tell you what, if you’ve spent years developing a brand, if you spent time, money, and energy, and you have to rebrand, it could cripple or destroy or shut down your business.
Now here’s the deal. This sounds overwhelming. I hundred percent get it. But you know what? We do have resources, DIY steps on Rachel Brenke, that can help you through this. We also can do this over at Eden Law, my law firm. It really is simple. I know it sounds overwhelming, but it’s going to be well worth the small investment of time and money to protect your brand. Because friend, here’s the deal. When you’re stuck dealing with financial administrative resources to change, or after the fact, defend your brand, you’re not going to be happy. It’s going to cost you more time, money, and energy. And that is less time that you’re spending on your business.
So I highly suggest that you guys dig in and I am going to link it on the show notes page, everything you need to know. But going into trademarking your logo and your business name, and also copyright registration for all of the marketing assets that you’re using. That, my friends, is having ultimate brand protection.
As a mom, team USA athlete and cancer-survivor, I want a real life while I have a real business. This is why my resources don’t promote hustle-culture, rather tough-love and no-holds-barred tips to achieving both. In addition to this website, I have a top-ranked business podcast, been featured in places like Forbes and work 1:1 with so many of you.
Enough about me though. I am proud of you for pursuing entrepreneurship. It is rewarding and amazing. Keep at it!