Protect Your Brand. It's Your Most Valuable Asset

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 30, 2010

Business news is saturated with talk of the power of the brand. But what does that really mean for a small business? Consider for a moment that your brand is one of your most valuable assets. Not only is it the core identifier of your product or service, it can become a valuable intangible asset that exponentially grows as you invest in its power. In fact, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, intellectual assets comprise nearly 80 percent of the total value of most companies. More financial institutions are looking at the value of intellectual assets when making lending decisions. Here are a couple of quick tips that can help you build the power of your brand:

More than just a name. Your brand is more than just your name or logo. Your brand is every aspect of how customers interact with your product. The look, feel, touch, color, sound—all of these components make up the brand and can be protected as intellectual property.

• Trademarks last forever. You can protect your brand forever as a trademark. Unlike patents, which expire after a period of time, trademarks last as long as you continue to use and protect them.

The Strategic Pause. When spending your money on an advertising or branding agency, remember to take a strategic pause in the creative process to consider what can be protected. Creativity is great, but if you can’t own it, you’re wasting your money. Stop and ask yourself: Can we own the ideas the agency is generating?

The real ROI. The long-term return on investment of a great brand is that if you can protect it, you can carve out a niche that can last a long time. You can keep evolving the underlying technologies that make your product while your brand can continue to grow and build in value.

Jennifer C. Wolfe
Founder and President of Wolfe, LPA
Cincinnati

Reader Comments

Dr. Serge Kuznetsov, Lecturer of Finuniversity, Russia

January 1, 2011 12:20 PM

I would like to add another tip - Branding to effectively protect your brand. In the period of economic crisis, when you experience decline of sales and brand equity, you use reactive branding. It could be rebranding to renew your image, or debranding to do away with your weak brands and focus on your strong ones, or cobranding to establish a mutually beneficial long term pipeline partnership. In the period of boom you enjoy proactive branding, described in this article.

Justin

January 3, 2011 9:29 AM

Dear Jennifer,

I do not think that Brand is most valuable asset for a business. I believe people are the most important one. E.g, Apple inc. is a great company. But if I have enough money to hire all of their workers, I can build another great brand, like Pear easily.

Steve Caler

January 3, 2011 2:16 PM

Although I agree that "owning creativity" is strongly worth considering when reviewing creative recommendations, I also believe that fully protecting concepts is as challenging and costly as the development of branding ideas to help establish a stake in the marketplace. The selection of the right IP attorney is part of the critical mix. How can a client know they have the right IP lawyer? We've had many challenges moving quickly, getting returned calls, and realizing that speed to market is a major advantage, but IP law is typically slow-moving at best. Thoughts?

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