If you’re an entrepreneur, you know how difficult it can be to protect your brand equity. Between copycats and the all-too-common infringement of intellectual property, it takes a lot of work to maintain your company’s identity in the marketplace. But there are ways you can fight back against these infringements and walk away with a stronger hold on your business.
What Is Brand Equity?
Brand equity is a concept that describes the values of a brand and its position in the mind of an individual consumer. It’s a product of a company’s reputation, consistency, trustworthiness, and recognition that can have benefits far beyond your bottom line.
Mass marketing is essential in creating strong brand equity. But if you don’t go the extra mile to protect your brand, you’ll be diluting the value of your investments and putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage.
Nevertheless, here are several ways to protect your brand equity.
Protect Your Trademark
A trademark is any word, symbol, or design that sets your business apart from other companies. Trademarks protect your physical and intellectual property by distinguishing it from others. They allow consumers to recognize a particular product without confusion about its source. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you register trademarks for federal protection through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Without a federally registered trademark, you may not enjoy the same protections against infringement as those who have registered their trademarks with the USPTO. However, state registration with individual states can also offer limited protection against infringement.
Copyright Your Work
A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection granted to original works of authorship. It refers to any artistic or literary creation you can express in a tangible medium, including music, film, software, websites, and advertisements. Copyright law protects your original work so that you can reap the benefits of your efforts and prevent others from profiting from them without your permission.
The USPTO grants copyrights for any original work that is fixed in a tangible form. This includes any unique piece of artwork, symbols, or logos on clothing or business cards, and even the custom design layout of a website or advertisement.
Generate Value for Your Stakeholders
To help build your brand equity, consider how you can generate value for your stakeholders. A stakeholder is vested in your company’s success and can affect its future, including customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, and others.
When stakeholders are satisfied with the performance of your business, they are more likely to share their recommendations with others. The shareholders are likely to offer more support, a greater share of the profits, and assistance in the form of loans or investments.
Employees who are often vested in the company’s success will be more loyal and productive as they see their hard work translate into long-term benefits. Some of these benefits might include greater job security and monetary compensation.
Get Help from Investigators
Investigators who specialize in brand protection help companies combat trademark and copyright infringement. They perform investigations to determine whether or not a suspect product is imitating a registered trademark or copyrighted work. The investigator will then determine the extent of the infringement and recommend the appropriate action for managing it.
A brand protection investigator performs at a professional level and often has a lot of industry knowledge. Consult one if you suspect any potential infringements.
Think About Brand Longevity and Sustainability
A business is only as valuable as its ability to survive. It will be difficult for a company to thrive if it cannot survive as a brand. Brand longevity and sustainability are two important functions of protecting brand equity.
Sustainability involves maintaining a lucrative brand long enough to expand it. Brand longevity requires extending the lifespan of a company and its impact on the marketplace by constantly renewing and improving it.
Protecting your brand equity can be a challenge. But, with the tips above, you can protect your brand equity while also helping it grow.