Jenni Romaniuk, in her book, Building Distinctive Brand Assets researched the extent to which various types of brand assets can substitute for the brand name once a brand becomes sufficiently well-known.
The assets Jenni Romaniuk identified as being the most likely to be both unique to a brand and famous were characters, logos and fonts.
As a lawyer, it is clear to me that there is a clear correlation between legal protection and the likelihood of an asset acquiring both fame and uniqueness for a brand because these top 3 assets are protected through copyright law and are also possible to trademark from the moment they are created for a brand.
Another way in which Jenni’s research bears out the importance of legal protection is that she found that colour assets are the least likely to be unique and famous.
Many people think of brand colours as an important primary decision for their visual identity but given the lack of protection available for colour that is not the best approach. While a colour is naturally going to be part and parcel of a brand anyone creating a new brand would do well to focus on developing a range of identifiers that can be protected as trademarks from the outset, namely elements like characters, logos, fonts, symbols, so they have several identifiers as codes instead of just focusing on their chosen colour and a simple logo.
Music is a strong performing asset because it is legally protected via copyright law while you build up associations to it for your brand. Once it acquires distinctiveness through use it is possible to apply to register it as a trademark.
Brands all start out unknown, using unknown brand elements. It is unlikely a brand can become unique and famous for its codes UNLESS it focuses on legally protecting them.
This is the main reason IP needs to be an intrinsic part of brand creation. When Byron Sharp says that distinctiveness lasts whereas differentiation doesn’t it’s because IP preserves a brand’s unique identifiers and protects the way a brand differs from its competitors visually, aurally or conceptually. So, IP erects barriers to entry by making it difficult for competitors to mimic or duplicate the way you choose to set your brand apart and make it more recognisable.
Branding is about creating the external, visual identity of a business. The name, logo, any symbols, characters, or music that you create gradually become associated in consumers’ minds with the brand of the business. Designers and brand strategists can develop stronger, more enduring brands by taking account of IP during the creative process
Brand Tuned Accreditation Program
Over at Brand Tuned we’re creating the first accreditation program that explains how to create a brand strategy making IP an inherent part of the process. Register to find out more about the Brand Tuned Accreditation Program which will give you a competitive advantage as you’ll learn how to incorporate an IP strategy as an intrinsic component of your brand strategy.
The program deals with IP in a branding context, as a natural aspect of brand strategy so IP can form an integral part of your decisions.