Crush Your Competition With These Trademarking Strategies
Taking advantage of trademarks can put your business at a competitive advantage, but unless you take a tactical approach to this process, you might not get the best results.
Here are some strategies to leverage in order to optimize how you use trademarks to bolster your brand and protect it from exploitation.
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Create something unique
It might seem obvious, but the best way to make a trademark which is both impactful and unlikely to infringe on any that already exist is to aim for uniqueness.
Of course to do so, you need to understand what constitutes a trademark and what kinds of things can be protected under current legislation, in which case this article on trademark FAQ will get you up to speed.
Identifying a trademark that will set you apart from the crowd requires a multifaceted approach. You can certainly take advantage of internal brainstorming sessions to collaborate on potential names and messaging for your brand, but it is also a good idea to look outwards and scout out what your competitors are doing. Using the official trademark database is a simple way to start your search.
It makes no sense to try and emulate those organizations that are vying for the same market segments as you; by scrutinizing the trademarks that are already in play, you can pinpoint which paths to avoid and strike out on your own.
Avoid your trademark becoming generic
It might feel like pie in the sky thinking, but even small businesses need to be wary of their trademarks being adopted as catch-all descriptions for the product or service they provide. While major brands can survive or even flourish on their names becoming associated more generically with products from rivals, this is less likely to be beneficial for up and coming companies.
The way to counteract this is to make sure that your marketing mentions both your trademarks and what they represent, effectively keeping them together yet ensuring that they remain distinct from one another. Likewise, avoid the temptation of using your brand name as a verb in any messaging, since this is also a shortcut to problematic misuse.
Registering your trademark with the relevant authorities in your region is always a worthwhile move, but you also need to make sure that you are staking your claim to a particular trademark in more ways than one after you have settled on it.
For example, in the age of ongoing social media growth, having accounts on popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook which are linked to your brand name will give you a foothold in a competitive marketplace.
Searching social media platforms can also provide insights into how competitors are harnessing these outlets to capitalize on their own trademarks, meaning you can either borrow effective strategies that they are using or highlight any gaps which are not yet being occupied and do your best to fill them to find your audience.
It is also essential to register your trademark as a domain name, even if you have no immediate plans to create a website. The sooner you secure this important online asset, the better equipped you will be to build your brand identity upon the firm foundations of your unique trademarks.
Embrace proactive protection
The best way to stop your trademarks being exploited by competitors is to make sure that they are unambiguously identified as protected. You can use the well-known ‘TM’ mark even if it is not yet registered, but can only use the ® symbol once registration has been approved.
In short, develop a trademark with care, establish it with ingenuity and protect it as robustly as you can.
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