Tag Archives: Brand strategy

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How to Get What You Want and Need Out of Branding

how to gBefore choosing someone to work with on your brand, it’s important to be clear what you want from brand and branding.

If you believe a brand is essentially a logo, then visual design will be all you want and expect from branding. However, if you believe that a brand is about more than a visual identity – for example, if you want to find your north star so the brand becomes a tool to guide your business journey – then you’re going to need more than just a visual identity.

I have been through a number of branding exercises in my time, which just gave me visual designs, even though the designers talked to me about mission, vision, values and so on. With the benefit of hindsight and experience, I now know that I would avoid embarking on my branding journey with a designer who offers visual identity services if I were in the market for branding services.

If you’re unclear about the difference between a brand strategy and a visual identity exercise, then read on. If what you’re after is a brand that can guide your business journey long term, and help you to win, then you will ultimately not get what you’re after if you start your branding journey with a visual identity designer.

Visual identity should actually be the last part of branding, not the first. However, due to the widespread misunderstanding about what ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ mean, many businesses I come across or who I interview on the podcast have, like me, just had designs created for them in the name of branding.

How can I tell? Well, the brand seems largely irrelevant to how they ran their business after branding. They don’t mention making strategic decisions guided by their brand strategy. It’s all too clear to me that they just got a visual identity rather than a strategy by which to live the brand..

It’s important for businesses to understand their options because the right supplier who is appropriate to their needs and wants will make a huge difference to the outcome from branding.

Why The Widespread Misunderstanding Around Branding Exists

The reason there is this lack of understanding around branding is that in our collective consciousness as a society, we have come to associate brands with designs. What should be the last step in branding has become the first thing we turn to because we are not aware that a brand could be about so much more than visual designs. As I explained in Branding – The Terminology a brand is not a logo. It is much more profound than that.

A comprehensive branding exercise should provide you with a strategy that is a central, unifying idea around which all behaviour, actions and communications of your company can be aligned. Your brand strategy can be a powerful leadership tool.

Brand is a large subject.

Later in this blog, I outline how to develop your brand strategy. Once you’ve done so, it should be clearly incorporated in a brand book that is more substantial than the usual brand guidelines designers provide after they’ve created your visual identity.

What Moves the Needle in Branding?

I have been curious to understand what moves the needle in branding for some time now. What would an improved brand offering look like? I have asked myself whether I could provide such a service affordably to smaller businesses, to the type of businesses that come to us for IP audits or other IP support?

Business success is much more about how effective you are in running your business than it is about your visual designs. Do not get me wrong, the visual dimension matters hugely. It is just that the right time to design the visual appearance of the brand is much later than most people imagine. If what you want is true branding then wait till you have a clear brand strategy before turning to visual identity. Stay with your existing visual identity.

I did not personally know any designers who provide the kind of strategic branding services I was wanting. So to work out my brand strategy to guide our business decisions in the Azrights business, I decided to brand my business myself by plugging the gaps in my own branding.

After working for some time on my brand strategy, by reading books, and doing some Google research, I thought I’d reached the end of the road. So, I wanted to address the visual design side of my brand. I wanted a proper logo rather than to continue with just a word mark. After several  designers failed to come up with ideas for an icon, I had to conceive the logo myself.

I came up with the idea of a ram as symbolic of cattle that were burned with a branding iron. Branding has always been a strong focus of the Azrights business, albeit that for many years we only dealt with brand protection. Indeed to symbolise the huge importance of branding in our business we were even using a bull icon to symbolise branding. So, I asked a talented young designer to implement it.  She did a brilliant job of it. Here it is:

I thought I was now ready to ask a designer to create my style guide to reflect the changes I had made to the visual identity. However, I was stumped when she said she would need my brand book to do this work. I had already sent her my old brand guidelines so she could adapt the new designs into the style guide. Clearly she needed more than this. So, I realised there was much more work to do on my branding. I had to create a brand book.

That’s when I decided to purchase a few branding courses to learn more about what a brand book should contain. While I am still writing my brand book, I have learnt a huge amount from the exercise, which will feed into the new book I am writing.

In the meantime, I have a pretty good idea of what a full and remarkable branding service should look like.

In previous posts I might have mentioned how branding must be treated as an inter-disciplinary exercise that incorporates intellectual property in the mix. If you’re thinking of rebranding, then it’s doubly important to consider your IP position first, and to hold off on the visual design front till you’ve found someone to work with on your IP and brand strategy. That person should provide you with a comprehensive brand book at the end of the exercise because it supports you to live the brand.  At the end of this blog I mention what a brand book would include.

Understanding Your Market and Positioning 

Your brand strategy is essentially about creating a way for your business to develop and grow.

A lot of thought goes into it, so that once you emerge from a strategic branding exercise you should be clear about who your brand is to be and where you’re headed in terms of the end goal of your business.

The starting point is to consider your customer and your category. Who is your customer and who competes with you? This is not just about your direct competitors. It’s also about the behaviours and substitutes you compete with from the customer’s point of view.

Understanding your market is not easy to do but is worthwhile so you can assess your customers to know their problems or challenges when they buy from you. You should have a good idea of the alternative options they considered, how they looked for solutions to their problems, what led them to you. What are their hopes and dreams?

Considering your competition involves identifying both your direct competitors, and your indirect competitors. These might have similar offerings or entirely different ones that enable customers to achieve similar outcomes in different ways.

In identifying your audience’s needs, wants and values—and how you factor into them, bear in mind that people are generally looking to make their lives better, so it’s appropriate to talk about those hopes and dreams in your communications.

My Reflection on Understanding the Market

The more I thought about this and observed customers, the more I realised that we do not just compete with intellectual property lawyers or business lawyers. We also compete with designers and marketers who offer branding services.

The customer has a range of problems and is often unclear who to listen to or how to manage their budgets to get their brand in place and to protect it. I realised that we are in a much stronger position to support business owners with their branding than they realise. By incorporating intellectual property in the mix, we can provide them with a full and remarkable solution. That’s when we decided to move into the branding space to offer brand strategy services, referring clients to trusted designers for the brand identity – designers who understand our strategic work and brand book well enough in order to be able to take the work forward from there rather than starting a new and expensive exercise.

Our aim was to make branding affordable, not to add an extra layer of cost. We want clients who start the intellectual property and brand strategy service with us, to get a brand identity (using one of our trusted partners) so that the overall cost to them would be lower than going straight to a visual identity designers, and yet their brand would also be protected by the end of the exercise..

Clarity Around Positioning is Key

Start by considering your category. Then think about what problems you are good at solving and what problems your direct competitors are also really good at solving. That is the category benefit you offer. However, to position yourself in a distinctive way involves solving a problem your competitor is not solving.

In our case that insight led to our decision to offer brand strategy services.

I know how important it is to start any new venture or project in the digital economy by considering the impact of intellectual property. I could see the confused thinking around brand, branding and intellectual property.

Customers were rushing around to deal with their branding at the very same time as they were coming to us to address their IP, often quite unaware of the impact of IP on those separate decisions they were making during branding, such as what name to use.

I had noticed the lack of attention to IP that characterises the branding industry, who often start with design and leave IP for the client to address later. So, I knew we had something unique to bring to customers which other branding strategists could not offer.

This step is the most important one to make for your business before moving on to decide your vision mission and values.

Understanding the customer’s core challenges, pain points, fears and desires enables you to know the emotional messages that will cut through to them.

What Your Brand Strategy Involves

In previous posts I’ve outlined at length that your brand strategy revolves around your overarching ambition and vision for your brand. From there you go on to determine your mission, and values. These underpin your branding and guide your decisions, including what your business will and won’t offer, and how it will approach everything.  These fundamentals involve having clear answers to seemingly simple questions such as:

  1. What do you do?
  2. Who do you do it for?
  3. Why does it matter? and
  4. what do you stand for?

Vision, Mission and Values

What you want the future direction of your brand to comprise sets the parameters of your vision. How you define that vision to yourself and to your team, as well as to external audiences enables them to know what your business is all about. It provides a tool for leading the organisation.

Your brand purpose is all about why your brand exists. As I explained in my post How To Consider What Your Brand Purpose Is if your vision is to create a nationwide online flower store enabling customers to subscribe to regular flower deliveries, and your purpose is to spread joy,that purpose should then guide every aspect of your business. Your purpose is about the difference you want to make in the world

Since Simon Sinek wrote his book, Start with Why, people have tended to emphasise the importance of working out their purpose.

You may have personal reasons that matter to you, such as caring for your family, but in terms of branding your reason for being, why you exist as a business, needs to be bigger than your personal why, or your product. If there is one thing you’re trying to accomplish what is it?

Some businesses don’t distinguish between their purpose and their mission. For example, for Airbnb their purpose and mission is one and the same thing, namely to create a sense of belonging.

Your mission is all about what your company aims to do.

Your values on the other hand form the basis of your mission and vision statement. Working out your values involves thinking about your beliefs. What is so important to you that you would never compromise on it to achieve your mission for your business?

These values need to be relevant to the business and meaningful. For example, belief in the importance of trustworthiness is fluff. That’s because nobody would opt for the opposite of trustworthiness as a value in their business. So, think of meaningful values that your business will do its utmost to uphold. Is customer service your highest value? Then you need to ensure that every aspect of your business is created to enable that objective to be met.

Zappos is an example you could look to emulate as their manifesto reflecting their  top10 values underpinned how they built up their successful online store for shoes.


The aim is to create a culture where your values are aligned towards your mission or purpose. The way you live your values and work towards your purpose is how you become known for the attributes you want your brand to gain recognition for over time. It’s how you create the whole brand experience, including how your team will strive towards that purpose. Your brand guides everyone in the organisation to know the role they play.

This aspect of brand strategy takes you into a different realm, that of leadership and running an organisation, creating a culture. This is the true value of setting your brand strategy.

Your brand book will articulate these strategic decisions. If the strategy work is done well, and at the right time, the brand could be your north star, navigating your business journey and providing a route map for managing the development of the company.

Strategy is something you use long term to inform your decisions. It’s very important for building a business because internally your vision, mission or purpose and values -those you want the business to live by, are the foundation for motivating and directing your team. Knowing how you want to leave customers feeling equips you to make decisions in recruitment and also in thinking through your customer journey. The ultimate aim of branding is after all to become known for the brand promise you offer your customers, to get the right reputation, and to achieve that involves making ‘on brand’ decisions day to day.

Brand Associations

The brand associations you decide to attach to yourself are how you create a mental shortcut to the brand meaning, and to encapsulate the company’s brand promise. They act as a quick reminder of the brand.. Typically, you’d come up with a concept to reinforce with customers, and then work with a creative firm to develop ways to express it. New associations can be added over time, building up a rich set of touchstones to the concepts behind the company’s brand.

Associations include the logo, an icon and other visual signposts that will ensure you are remembered and recognised. So, there is an element of the brand strategy which needs to be dealt with when you commission the visual identity.

The aim is that your visual identity should support the brand you have created and are building, that the mental shortcuts will be useful. Your brand book will have a range of keywords within it, which will make it easier for your designer to design the visual identity.

Benefit of a Brand Book

A comprehensive brand book would drill down into the language you would use, words you would or would not say even. It would include your core messages, so you have a foundation for consistent messaging.

Your messages would speak about the core benefits you offer and what your competition provides in comparison. These messages are founded on your positioning, your vision mission and values, so that you constantly reinforce the difference you make to your audience’s lives, the value you offer.

Your brand book should detail all this work including your key competitors, your positioning and messaging, and also your own brand archetype and personality, as well as your audience’s archetype too.

Your communications need to reinforce the outcomes you bring to people, and to communicate with your audience in appropriate ways, such as talking about what your product or service will do for the customer. What it will make them feel.

You would also have your brand story, which is actually not your story as such. It is your customer’s story, their fears and dreams, the obstacles they face, and the guidance that you provide. It is not about your reasons for setting up your business, which I had wrongly assumed was what the brand story needed to focus on. This is a widespread area of misunderstanding in branding.

Knowing how to talk to your audience from the perspective of the value your product or service brings to their lives, the outcomes they can expect from using your product or service gives you a framework of consistency and cohesion to your messaging.

By recording this information in your brand book, you have a valuable tool to ensure your company’s personality is conveyed in a way that will always be recognizable and distinctly attributable to your brand.

This should help in driving sales and make your brand more valuable. Byron Sharp in his book How Brands Grow, highlights the importance of a brand being available to buy wherever your customer is looking to make a purchase, and being remembered from past interactions they may have had with your brand. That is the reason to strive for consistent use of brand elements.

Simply Messages

To get cut through for your business bear in mind the limitations of the human mind for taking in more and more information.

Our minds just can’t cope unless the messages we receive are simple ones that fit with what our minds already know and accept. Therefore, we have to simplify our messages, and then simplify them some more if we want to be heard. It is also important to repeat messages in various different ways, such as customer testimonials, case studies and other updates so that the material that has the best chance of getting through to your audience is seen by them.

For similar reasons it’s important to make sure your brand elements are all recognisable across different platforms and activities.

What a Brand Book Should Include

A brand book should include

  1. a brand style sheet section that is purely focused on the visual aspects of the brand, so you use the brand identity consistently.  This should include use of logo, colour palette, and anything core to the identity, as well as guidelines for how to use brand elements consistently on social media.
  2. everything else that you decide upon as part of your brand strategy.

My experience with brand guidelines is that are not always comprehensive enough in scope to guide others in all the different situations when the brand need to be used in a consistent way.

As well as detailing how to use the logo and typography, you would expect to also see photos, illustrations, graphics, templates incorporating use of imagery, and explanations as to when and how to use them, edit them, which colours to place them with on social media or in campaigns for Facebook or other Ads.

In conclusion, the brand book should help you to use your strategic thinking to drive your business and to do so by achieving brand consistency. Among other things, the brand book should help you to write your communications, be it press releases, email, blog posts, or advertising campaigns. and provide guidance to your marketers, sales teams and any other departments that will be involved in messaging and communications. You’ll then have a road map to inform your business decisions day to day.

branding the terminology

Branding – The Terminology

branding the terminologyA brand is about a lot more than just about how it looks. “Brand” can be an important business tool if used well.

Yet “brand” and “branding” are terms that mystify many business owners. Even those who go through a branding process often emerge without a clear idea of the meaning of these words, and the value of using the brand strategy work they did during branding to guide their business journey.

It’s clear that to most people a brand is a logo. They associate branding with graphic design work, and as a rule, most businesses that I interview on my podcast don’t appear to have been guided by their brand strategy in their subsequent journey to success. Instead branding was an exercise they went through to get to their brand designs and that’s the sum total of its impact on their business subsequently.

A business’ logo and designs are not going to determine the reputation the brand builds, so it’s too narrow as a definition of a brand.

What Brand Means

If you ask people who believe that a brand is more than a logo to define what it is, you will often get definitions like ‘everything you do is your brand’, or people will quote Jeff Bezos saying that ‘your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room’.

However, such statements do more to confuse and obfuscate than to clarify what a brand is.

The picture is further complicated because branding and marketing are used interchangeably as if they mean one and the same thing.

When I wrote my first book ‘Legally Branded’ in 2012, I was mystified by the meaning of the word and consulted authoritative texts such as The New Strategic Brand Management (Kogan Page, 2011) by J. N. Kapferer. Apparently the internationally agreed legal definition of a brand is ‘a sign or set of signs certifying the origin of a product or service and differentiating it from the competition’.

This is the essence of branding – its origins as a way of burning an identifying mark on livestock with a branding iron to distinguish the ownership of cattle. Branding is fundamentally about creating a visual identity to stand out and be uniquely identified as your brand.

The identifying marks applied to cattle soon evolved into a stamp of approval, and source of origin.

While with cattle applying a logo was all there was to it, for a business branding involves more than stamping it with a logo, and other visual designs. After all, you need to first decide what look to stamp it with.

So, in practice, branding is as much about how you design your business as it is about your visual designs.

This definition of branding, doesn’t give founders of small businesses an accessible way to understand the meaning of the term “brand” so in my blog What is a Brand? Essential Reading For Every Business I used a practical approach to convey what brand and branding mean.

Instead of trying to define the terms in a succinct sentence or two, I drew an analogy to the personality and reputation of an individual.

To properly understand what brand means, think of an individual’s personality. When we talk about people, we say we like their personality, we don’t tend to say we like someone’s brand. I think it helps to make the word ‘brand’ more relatable, less obscure, to think of it as interchangeable with personality and reputation.

Gradually as we get to know a real person, we see different sides to them, and form a sense of who they are. We might even be able to predict how they will respond in certain situations, whether they can be trusted to see something through, or are likely to give up half-way, and so on.

Brand: Sum Total of Impressions

We form a mental picture, and associations when a person’s name is mentioned. What we think about them derives from a mixture of our past experiences of them, the impression they made on us, their appearance, our sense of who they are, what makes them tick, how they make us feel. That is their reputation or brand in our mind’s eye.

What we think of them is coloured by our own personalities and worldview. Our values, beliefs, preferences, and our past experiences of them will all impact our perceptions. This means there won’t be a universal view of a given person.

However, there will be some commonalities that appear again and again when people talk about someone. Certain objective facts about an individual that won’t be disputed by most people. For example, someone may have a bubbly personality, or seem grumpy. These are objective facets of people, that are likely to be noticed and accepted by nearly everyone who has contact with them depending on how core that behaviour is to their personality.

Similarly, as your business is also a separate person legally with an identity of its own that evolves over time it creates an impression on others through their experiences of your business. Gradually over time, when people hear your company’s name certain associations come to mind. It might encompass how your company has communicated with them, your products and services, any memory of your customer service, or handling of their initial enquiries and so on.

What you say as a business on your website, in your content on blogs, videos and social media, and how you run the business in terms of the quality of your products and services and customer service, all go to create an overall impression about your business. These gradually reflect on how you come across to others as a business.

That’s what people mean when they say everything you do is your brand or that every business has a brand whether they know it or not.

With time your business will evoke a certain response in others. Certain key aspects of your brand and reputation will be noticed more universally by others.


Brand Strategy

Setting your brand strategy as part of branding is how you can decide how to influence the perceptions about your business. That’s when you decide what you want your business to be known for, what qualities you will try to promote in your business so its identity, that is, its brand can develop over time and acquire the reputation you would want it to have.

A newly created business has no background or history. It will develop a reputation (that is, a brand) which you can control. The name you choose, what the business does, how the business becomes known, what your business aspires to do, all these details and more determine the brand it will develop.

Rather than letting it evolve haphazardly you can influence the direction of its brand by designing the business intentionally.

And if you’re rebranding, then that’s the time to rethink the branding you started out with, to refine your thinking for the business, perhaps set a new vision for it.

Some business owners believe that brand is not applicable to them because they are small. That it only applies to well-known household name businesses.

While there is undoubtedly a difference between a brand that is well known such as the Apples of this world, and one that is still relatively unknown, it’s nevertheless the case that every business, and indeed every person is a brand in the sense of evoking a reaction and making an impression on others.  Some brands are just less well known than others. Some may be well-known to a micro community and others may not be known yet because they’re just be getting started.

So, there exists an axis ranging from a brand that’s not known or understood in the market, to one that has become known by a sufficient size of the market to be a “brand”, a household name in their market possibly, in the sense of a brand that has succeeded, and has real traction in a community.

Design is Not Just How a Brand Looks

Design is about how your business works, not just how it looks. Just as an individual’s looks matter, and impact the impression we form of them, so your business’ visual appearance matters of course. In fact, the evidence-based research from the Ehrenberg Bass institute indicates the visual dimension matters a lot.

Creating the visual identity of your business is an enjoyable aspect of branding or rebranding because you get a transformation of your ideas into appealing visual designs which can be very exciting.

However, to get a worthwhile result leave the designs till you have worked on your brand strategy and got as far as you can with it on your own.

By deciding the brand you want to create strategically, and determining the reputation you want the business to develop you will have a much better chance of influencing the way you build the brand. You need not risk it getting a reputation randomly over time, and most importantly you can ensure the visual identity designs support the overall impression and feelings you want your brand to evoke and convey.

Get Started Using low-cost Designs

Clearly a new business needs some designs to get started. If you’re just starting out, then depending on your business model and intentions for your business, I recommend you get going and prove the concept while using low-cost designs, and even a temporary name. Think through your brand strategy about the brand you want to build as you get market feedback. That process is bound to impact your vision for your business, and result in decisions about the brand you want to build.

Then with the concept proven, the next step is to engage in more expensive design work for your business, and possibly a new name, and website to properly launch your business. These decisions involve fundamental intellectual property considerations which are foundational for your business. I’ve written many blogs about what intellectual property means, such as Is a Brand Intellectual Property? Definition of Brand and Intellectual Property.

Although I use the word brand and business interchangeably the term “brand” or “business” mean different things. Your “business” is your company—the organization that produces your products or offers your services. Your “brand”, on the other hand, is the image or identity or reputation that your business projects—the way that consumers perceive your business.

Designing the business includes deciding what products or services you will sell, what barriers to entry you will erect, how you will turn your knowledge, skills and insights into a new concept and business.

Bear in mind that if you don’t create a successful business that meets a market need, then no amount of ‘visual identity branding’ will turn your business into your desired type of brand. This leads into the second word I want to define, namely, branding.

What Branding Means

Branding is the activity of creating the visual identity for your brand. It’s the process by which you put your best strategic thinking for developing your business into a visual identity.  It involves turning your business philosophy, and how you intend it to function as a business into visual designs.

In order to determine who your brand is, you first need to have asked yourself some searching questions, and done some deep thinking about the business you want to build, the brand you want it to have so it is reliably known for delivering a specific promise.

Branding gives your business a visual identity. It gives consumers something to relate to and connect with. Branding makes your business memorable. It’s the face of your company and helps consumers distinguish your business from others.

Your branding supports your marketing and advertising efforts It helps consumers to recognise you again if they’ve come across your brand in the past.

Marketing is often used interchangeably with branding but is quite different. It’s the activity you engage in to bring a product or service to market. Sending out branded messages and communications to make sure your product gets out to market and gets sold. It overlaps with branding but is distinct.

Branding determines what your product looks like, and what kind of vibe it gives.  Marketing is about bringing those efforts out there in the world.

To conclude your brand is primarily about how you are known. With time a strong brand becomes associated with a specific promise.


How to Develop a Brand Strategy in the Face of this Corona Virus

Brand STRATEGY - CORONAVIRUSBusiness has changed radically since Milton Freidman wrote in Capitalism and Freedom (1962) that there is “one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits”

The changes in our digital environment – increased globalisation, new technologies, and radical socio-political shifts – mean the world of business looks nothing like it did back in the 1960s. And now the Corona Virus epidemic will undoubtedly further impact the forces that drive business.

These shifts cement the trend away from pure profit-focused business towards purpose-led organisations.

Stakeholders at all levels in businesses want to set a purpose beyond the balance sheet – one that contributes a positive impact in the wider world.

Business for Good

Businesses today are finding that doing good can also mean doing well. Apparently, companies with an established sense of purpose – one that’s measured in terms of social impact, such as community growth, rather than by reference to a bottom-line figure – outperformed the S&P 500 index by 10 times between 1996 and 2011.”

90% of executives recognize the importance of having “an aspirational reason for existing which inspires and provides a call to action for an organization as well as benefiting society.

What is your purpose? It’s an essential element of your brand to identify. It’s not easy and requires time to think through.

Once you’ve determined your purpose it’s important to make it drive every aspect of your business. It mustn’t just be a laudable statement that’s bandied around.


Corona Virus Crisis Impacts Everyone Differently

 While the Corona Virus crisis will undoubtedly kill some small businesses stone dead, those that survive will be looking for the best of forward thinking to help them thrive and stand out in an uncertain, fast changing, and competitive environment.

Designing your business with purpose at its core is the right starting point. Thinking through your brand deeply over the next year or so to set your brand strategy will help you to achieve a much stronger brand.

We’ve set up our BrandTuned Facebook group to support businesses during this difficult period. Our gift to you is to support you during 2020 as you grapple with questions around what to do in the face of the Covid-19 crisis or if you’re working to rebuild your business.

Brand plays centre stage in good business design, and it can take as much as 6-12 months to do all the soul searching and thinking that’s involved in creating a unique brand strategy and stories as part of your business design.

Take advantage of this opportunity to increase your understanding of how to achieve a strong brand using intellectual property and a clear brand strategy.

Contrary to popular belief, brand should not be a design led activity.


One of the biggest mistakes is to equate brand with a visual identity

Brand is not a logo. It’s your company ethos, and strategy. So, leave the visual identity phase of branding till much later. During 2020 just focus on rethinking your brand. You’ll have plenty of time in 2021 to get the visual identity in place in order to take advantage of the upswing in the economy that we’re likely to experience by mid-2021. The only exception is if you have products and need to change the label on them, for example because you’re selling something else or using a new name. Then you will need to progress the design sooner.

But apart from such exceptional reasons, it’s one of the biggest mistakes I see to turn to design as soon as people reinvent aspects of their business and brand.

I caught myself about to make that knee jerk reaction when I was rethinking my business last year. I was turning it from a regulated law firm to a non-regulated law firm that also supports business with their brand strategy. We are all so inclined to assume that we need new designs way before we have deeply thought through our brand strategy because we’re still in 20th century thinking mode.

So, hold back from changing your designs. In the 21st century that we are being catapulted into more rapidly by this Corona Virus, brand is no longer a design led activity. It’s an intellectual property, and business structure led activity.

As we go deeper into this crisis and emerge from it at the other end make sure you think about your brand in the right way, designing it with IP at its heart as you nail your brand strategy.

Don’t be impatient. It takes time to know how to best structure your business. If you already have a brand, it’s unlikely any of your tweaks to the business model will necessitate an immediate need for a new visual look so avoid the temptation to initiate new designs. Just carry on your business and work on it by refining your brand over the next year.


Purpose – Your Why

Thinking about your “why” both on a personal level and on a business level will help you to align the two when designing your business.

I’ve developed a holistic framework for structuring a business for success and developing its brand strategy which is the subject of my new book ‘BrandTuned, How To Perfect, Protect and Promote your Brand’ This will be available in 2021.

Using brand, marketing and IP thinking, the book helps you to develop a well-considered brand strategy and identity that resonates with your ideal market before you turn to visual identity at the very end of it all.

My framework is call TUNED each letter of which signifies the following statement:


Think IP First!

Understand your ideal client!

Name it right!

Establish your Brand Strategy!

Driving the brand strategy!


Get into the right mindset now by doing some introspection. Consider your values, what you stand for, and your why. What sort of culture do you want to create within your business?



The future when we emerge from this world crisis will be fast moving. Think about how you will create the right culture, and how you will instil that culture into a remote team now so that you have the basic tools in place to train your people as you recruit new team members in future once we fully emerge from this lock down and the economy is booming.

The world’s top brands are created in an inter-disciplinary way. The silo approach which currently prevails in branding, that treats IP and brand as separate subjects does not serve business well. It often adds to costs and does not include IP thinking at the right time.

Once you have nailed your strategy, and your visual identity designed promote the business externally and internally. Do so to convey your brand promise and purpose and to recruit and equip like-minded team members to make ‘on brand’ decisions.

We are all collectively still in shock as a result of the changes brought about to our lives since mid-March. Depending on the business you are in, you may have to identify whether there are innovations available to you. You may need to adapt and adjust your business model just to keep it afloat.

It may be that your business, like mine, was already adapted to be digital and lends itself to remote delivery. The work you need to do is to better understand your customers’ needs right now during this crisis and beyond. What adjustments could you make to your products and services, or what new offerings could you introduce to serve some of your customers?


I will be working with you to disrupt the traditional silo approach to branding, so you don’t miss opportunities to create ownable, distinctive IP. Among other things, I will help you to:

  • define your brand
  • identify your ideal client
  • decide on the brand promise that will motivate your ideal client to choose your business
  • to pick a name that will put you “front of mind”
  • to ensure the name and other brand elements you choose are “ownable” and distinctive
  • to establish a road map to grow your business.

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Third Costly Mistake

The Third Costly Mistake People Make When Branding or Rebranding

Third Costly MistakeThe third costly mistake people make is Not having a clear brand strategy before getting a visual brand identity

Wally Olins, a thought leader in brands and branding says:

‘A brand is simply an organisation, or a product, or a service with a personality … Branding can encapsulate both big and important and apparently superficial and trivial issues simultaneously … Branding is not only a design and marketing tool, but it should also influence everybody in your company; it’s a coordinating resource because it makes the corporation’s activities coherent and above all, it makes the strategy of the organisation visible and palpable for all audiences to see’.

To think through your brand strategy involves deciding how to create a good business that’s reliable and known for delivering on a specific promise. How will your business idea work? Who will buy from you? What promises will you be known for?

Every brand has its own distinct ‘promise’. It’s due to this promise that we know to expect something completely different if we buy a Rolex watch rather than a Swatch.

Working out your brand strategy is essential if you want to get your business off to a successful start. Thinking through how you want your business to be known isn’t easy, but this is important work. You need to fine tune your brand strategy before you can be ready to brief designers to give your concept a visual identity.

Consider what quality or outcome you want to deliver consistently and reliably. How will customers know what to expect if they use your product or service so that there’s little risk of an unpleasant surprise? Buying a product or service from a business whose brand is not yet known is risky because it represents something untried and untested.

As my first efforts with branding were somewhat unsuccessful, I decided to rebrand a few years ago. This time I knew better than to start off the process by visiting a designer. Instead, I did a lot of introspective thinking, and worked with other professionals to fine tune my brand strategy.

I had to decide what unique angle I was bringing to the market, and how to communicate that message in a way that evoked a response in the minds of customers.

What work was my law firm focusing on? Apart from the fact that we specialised in brand and trademarks, I realised we were very technology and online business focused in everything we did.

Having done my homework and soul searching first, and really considered the business’ mission, values, purpose, and more, I turned to a designer for the visual identity work.

As I had fine-tuned my brand strategy, the rebranding exercise was a great success. We decided to use the tagline, Lawyers for the Digital World. This time the logo was designed to look more IBM like rather than an old fashioned “creative” looking script.

Some of our essential values are encapsulated in our ethos Easy Legal Not Legalese. Another important value is to be forward-thinking and to provide the solutions the market needs. Hence why we’ve developed BrandTuned, a “done with you” style service that combines branding with IP. It ends with designs. We can either do the designs for you using our own creatives, or we give you a design brief that makes it easy for your own chosen designer to translate your brand strategy into visual designs.


Design Your Business Brand

brandAs Steve Jobs noted, design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.

Designing your business brand, methodology or process is therefore about a lot more than getting a visual identity for it. So, learn to leave Visual Identity Till Much Later Don’t assume branding is synonymous with getting a visual identity.


Mistaking what brand means

I myself made that mistake when I first set up my business in the mid-2000s.

The words ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ were very confused in my mind because I was a new business, and a less experienced entrepreneur back then. So, I spent thousands on “branding” without getting anything more than expensive design work.

Your brand is more about the way you design your business than designs you get for your business to use.

Although, the visual element does play an important part in the long-term growth and prosperity of a business, it’s all too easy to turn to a visual brand identity, when what you actually first need is to sort out your brand strategy.

I’ve explained in other posts why you need to go to different providers of services to get your brand strategy and brand identity, and then your visual identity.


Clarity About Your Business Brand

Only once you’re clear on your business brand would it be appropriate to turn to a designer for a visual identity.  You could brief the designer properly, avoiding the need for them to spend hours and hours trying to understand your business, mission and values – which they, of course, need to know, in order to be able to deliver your visual identity.

A brand is much more than a logo, and branding is about a lot more than visual designs.

Just because you need some sort of visual identity to start your venture, doesn’t mean you should undergo a costly branding visual design exercise. You could just use some basic designs more affordably so as to get started testing your business concept, leaving the more comprehensive visual identity work till much later.

Once you’ve thought through and tested your positioning, name, niche, and business model, and identified a winning formula, protected your intellectual property – THAT’s when the time would be right to engage designers to create a visual identity to reflect your brand brief.

Until then, something temporary – or your existing visual identity (if you’re rebranding) will be just fine.


Confusion About Branding

As mentioned, I myself was confused about what branding meant when I started my business some 14 years ago.

I made the mistake of paying for expensive “branding” for my business by engaging some designers who provided “branding” services. They had a process to help work out what my brand was, which involved completing a questionnaire, having a meeting and some discussions which I don’t remember at all, nor did I really understand what they meant by their questions. I know they were also trying to understand what intellectual property meant!

They sent me some logo designs afterwards and I picked one I really liked – it had an old fashioned distinctive looking font. And that was it. My brand identity was created around that logo.  I had picked brand colours that I liked before they created the logo, so that was my brand identity work completed.

Why the Brand was Unsuitable

The website they designed for me featured many pictures of musical instruments, including violins and pianos.

At the time being new to business I was quite clueless about all things branding. So, this is the brand I got. It gave a cliché impression about what an intellectual property law firm was all about. The trouble was that I wasn’t a music lawyer, but due to all the musical instruments featured on my site, I kept getting enquiries from musicians who couldn’t afford our services.

This is a mistake I see many businesses making, because they assume branding is about getting a logo and other designs.  They hand themselves over to designers to brand their business and remain clueless about what brand really means.

I should add that the designers were lovely people, and very keen to do their best for me. The problem wasn’t with them. It was simply that I wasn’t ready for the branding process at that time and should have started with someone else who could help me understand what a brand is, and to provide guidance so I could develop my business brand strategy before visiting the design agency for the visual identity work.

How different it was for me second time around, a few years ago.

I decided it was time to rebrand and get a visual identity that was more reflective of our focus as a law firm – namely technology and online business.

This time, I did my homework on my business, mission, values, purpose, positioning and more – as well as some of the research I advocate everyone should do before launching their positioning. I then only opted for the visual identity work AFTER getting clarity on my brand strategy on my own (with the help of a marketer). Therefore, the exercise resulted in a more successful outcome.

Every single business, charity or entity has a ‘brand’ in the sense that they all have an identity rather like you or I have an identity as people.  To work out the details so that what you say, how you operate and what you promise reflect the way you want to be known as a business and brand takes time to think through.


Values and Beliefs 

It involves working out which values of founder are to be paramount in establishing what the brand of the business or charity represents. What its personality is, and what it wants to stand for – it needs to be something that resonates with its customers or those they serve.

Working out what you want to uniquely provide to the market, and your marketing messages to evoke a desired response in the minds of your customers through your brand promise is the first step involved to brand your business. Until your business can consistently deliver that, you will not have a brand

Wally Olins, a thought leader in brands and branding says

‘A brand is simply an organisation, or a product, or a service with a personality … Branding can encapsulate both big and important and apparently superficial and trivial issues simultaneously … Branding is not only a design and marketing tool, it should influence everybody in your company, it’s a coordinating resource because it makes the corporation’s activities coherent and above all it makes the strategy of the organisation visible and palpable for all audiences to see’. 

While design helps support the overall impression and feelings a brand wants to evoke and convey, if you don’t first work out your brand strategy for creating a successful business that meets a market need, then no amount of ‘visual identity branding’ will make your business into a successful, coherent brand. 


Brand Name

An important point to note is that the good associations that customers have with a brand are, for the most part, transferred to the brand’s name. Just as individuals are identified by their name, so we identify a business primarily by its name.

The name plays a very significant part in the way the law protects a brand. Even if a business has many other symbols, like Coca-Cola has with its distinctive logo or bottle shape, the name is still the most critical component of its identity. This is why you need to work with a trade mark lawyer who “gets” branding for the initial first phase of your branding exercise when you’re developing your brand strategy, and identifying suitable names.

More than 70% of the value in businesses in our digital economy comprises intangible assets. These intangibles include your brand name, logo, website, brochures, and more. They’re impacted by intellectual property laws the world over. Income follows assets. If you own physical property it can generate rental or other income for you. This is well understood in relation to physical property but not so well appreciated when it comes to business assets, such as a brand name or a piece of software.  These assets underpinned with IP protection are where the value in your business will lie as you succeed and grow.

So, start your brand thinking by consulting an IP lawyer, that focuses on trademarks and has a deep understanding and interest in what brands are all about.



Is Branding A Superficial Cosmetic Activity or A Substantive Exercise?

brandingThis is a question I used to wonder about. Deep down I believed ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ to be essentially a surface, cosmetic exercise.

As for ‘personal branding’ the activity had connotations of people learning to be false and less than real. After all, if they spent time thinking about how they wanted to come across, surely that meant they would be artificial rather than authentic?  Such people would be too focused on creating the ‘right’ impression rather than being themselves. This is what I used to think.  I doubt I’m the only person who has thought in this way about a brand.


Where do prejudices like this come from?

I was wondering where such prejudices about ‘branding’ came from, and whether others share them.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that there was a time when brand was all about image. Did the hangover of that era create this impression of brand being superficial surface stuff, I wonder?

Now that my views have changed I don’t like to admit how I thought about branding. However, I think there is a benefit to examining such prejudices to see whether they are widespread and shared by others.


Meaning of design

As Steve Jobs put it “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works”.

In brand creation, the link between design and branding may be one reason the activity is perceived to be about surface veneer.

I remember a few years ago many of the big law firms were all undergoing rebranding exercises. Invariably this involved shortening of their names, unveiling new logos, colours, and slogans – but for all one could tell it was just new visual designs and business as usual.  The businesses didn’t seem altered in any substantive way after their rebrands.

I could understand it more when a company like Norwich Union rebranded by changing its name and becoming AVIVA. Its old name was parochial and limiting. If the business wanted to be perceived as more international it definitely needed a name change and new identity.

Then there was BP rebranding from British Petroleum to BP, adopting the green colouring everywhere.

Yet that business seemed to lack an effective belief system to respond appropriately in the face of the oil spill disaster.

Their rebrand seemed to have been a surface exercise in design work. For all the information they put out about their values, none of these seemed to drive the business’ behaviour and response, and therefore seemed to be a surface, superficial exercise.


Branding books

I have read hundreds of books on branding, and now that I understand the anthropological and social basis of it I know it’s a really important tool in business if properly dealt with.

Clarifying your philosophy and how you mean to function as a business when setting up or rethinking any venture, be it a commercial undertaking or a charity, is crucial to success, provided those decisions are embedded within the business appropriately so that they determine how the business behaves and reaches decisions.

The trouble is that many people invariably assume this branding exercise involves working with designers to get a new visual identity. This is wrong thinking that needs to be debunked.

Branding is not just about the visual identity

The prominent association some people have with the brand and visual identity may explain why I and others have perceived the branding exercise to be cosmetic and surface, rather than having any deep meaning.

My own experiences of branding never allowed the amount of time and space one needs in which to think through the brand philosophy. The branding experiences were invariably spaced out over 3-4 weeks – which is insufficient time in which to make fundamental, profound decisions about your purpose and mission, values, and what brand promise you want to be known for etc.


A Design Brief

For a designer faced with a client that hasn’t done the work on their brand yet, the problem is how to deliver a visual brand identity. So, I totally get why the designer can’t just create a visual identity without knowing what the business is all about and wants to communicate.

The problem is that clients go to designers with no real design brief. So, designers invariably and necessarily need to ask questions and delve as deeply as it’s possible to do in the time available, in order to find out about the business, and its values.

That is the way to arrive at a brief from which to design the visual identity needs to change.

The fact that businesses have done inadequate thinking about their brand strategy before they turn to a designer is the root cause of the problem. It leaves it to the designer to tease out this information so that they can do their job.

Naming calls for different skills

It’s expecting too much of designers, who also have to come up with new names and slogans too to help their clients to embed their philosophy into the business.

The naming side of a brand is really an exercise that calls for completely different skills and shouldn’t be left to designers to deal with.

For naming and slogans, you need trade mark lawyers who could involve a copywriter or linguist to help brainstorm name ideas if necessary. Designers don’t need to be involved at this stage of the process. When you’re finding out who you are, why others should care, how you will operate and so on, you just need to work with a brand strategist that understands trade mark and other IP laws, and the marketing and other aspects of branding.

It’s only when that is all clarified that you need a designer to give visual expression to the brand.

You should choose a name once you’ve understood your target market and what resonates with that market.  You don’t choose the name because of what it will look like in a logo. That would be rather superficial in my view, when naming something, to be worrying about its visual manifestation as a logo.


Ideal Process

The ideal branding exercise to give a business a brand that will be its central core and soul is one where you spend many months working out your business brand, and brand strategy, including your positioning. Only once that stage is completed would you be ready to identify a name and slogan.

This is why we have created a brand strategy offering for our clients. We can then give guidance to clients on names. I have spent years studying and understand brands – having realised it’s the optimum way forward to give clients the best possible outcome for their brand work.

Not all trademark lawyers can offer such a service yet because the lawyers would first need to thoroughly understand what’s involved in a branding exercise so they can help you create a suitable name and tagline.

So, I want to emphasise that the expertise that’s needed during this first phase is NOT design related. You’re thinking through things like what marketing messages will resonate with the target customer. Is the chosen name or slogan one that the customer would respond to? Is it capable of functioning as a trade mark? Is it available? Does it reflect the positioning without actually describing the activity? Who better to work with at this stage of brand thinking than a trade mark lawyer who has undergone a solid training in brand?

Your brand is what drives your business, a set of promises and assurances that customers should think of when they see or hear your name. It is your unique identity that resonates with your target audience and differentiates you from your competitors. The name and slogan are the root of that identity.


When it’s Appropriate to Seek Designs

Once this first stage of the brand work is completed, and appropriate legal checks have been carried out, and trade marks registered, it would be appropriate to turn to designers to create the visual brand identity.

The exercise that began with IP first to assess which IP rights are most important to the business model, and concluded with legal protection of the brand identity, would mean the legal identity would be firmly and correctly sorted out and locked down. So, a detailed brief could be produced for designers to create the visual identity.

Given this level of detail, the designers would at the very most need a one-hour meeting with the client to get the information they need to produce the visual identity.


Approach to Branding

This approach to branding should be what small businesses do, because it brings down the overall costs for the client. The visual identity costs will be a fraction of the price designers now need to charge. The visual design price would therefore drop because designers no longer need to spend time learning about the business and teasing out its mission, values and so on.  Nor would they need to do work that they’re not well placed to do, such as devising new names and slogans.

As such the client is the winner. They have much greater clarity about their brand when constructing their business model and I suspect this would impact their success rate in business because they could design the business correctly and be better placed to build on solid foundations.

So, I advocate separating the legal identity and brand strategy from the visual identity. They need different advisers. Azrights supports clients with brand strategy and naming, while the visual identity is then undertaken by designers who we can introduce, or you can find yourself.


Brand Guidelines

Another difference in the outcome is that instead of the brand guidelines being focused purely on the visual dimension – the logo and colours, the client would get two sets of brand guideline – one focused on the brand strategy, covering issues such as communications and embedding the brand into the culture of the business, while the visual brand guidelines would focus on use of logos and colours, as they do now.

With the correct strategy, your brand will gain in value over time. This value will come from the positive reputation your business develops. For more information read my earlier blog on how to establish your brand.

brand strategy

Brand Strategy Is Essential For Success In Business 

I recently wrote an extensive piece Brand Strategy Why Every Business Needs One on my personal blog.

Brand strategy is one of the most important issues to deal with if you want to create a business that grows in brand value and delivers more leads and opportunities.

We’re developing a methodology to support our clients to create their brand strategy and it’s important to take a fresh look at what you think “brand” means when considering this piece and the videos here.

Brand, branding, intellectual property, trade mark, business design – these are all very much misunderstood as terms, or people don’t even know what they mean. Yet these are really important issues for a business to take on board whether it’s starting up, scaling or looking to exit.

In the blog post and first video, I explain what is involved in working out your brand strategy.

Don’t assume bigger businesses all have brand strategies because many of them don’t have one – particularly tech companies as they focus all their attention on the product.

Uber is an example of what happens when you don’t have a brand strategy.  While the business is a success and has even reached unicorn status, its lack of attention to brand has caused numerous problems. In the second video, I go into Uber’s case in more depth.

If you want support to craft your brand strategy so as to build brand value, and attract more leads and opportunities then do get in touch. We can help you whether you’re a start up, scale up or a business looking to plan your exit.

business development

Business Development: What Business Are You Really In?

business developmentIf you prefer to listen/watch a video instead of reading then click here to go to my Youtube channel.

Asking yourself the question ‘what business am I really in’ is well worth doing periodically – the answer might just help you to discover hidden opportunities or an angle for business development that you otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

Take cinemas as an example.

When I was a child I remember outings to the cinema would often start off with a visit to the shops to buy nibbles and sweets. We’d then walk over to the cinema, buy our tickets and go into the auditorium to watch the film while munching away on the foods we’d bought.

Fast forward to today when a visit to the cinema is a different experience.



What’s happened? Well somewhere along the line cinemas began to look at their business in a different way. They asked themselves this question of what business they are really in, and instead of defining it as the film viewing business, they realised they’re as much in the food and beverage business, as they are in the film business.

When they regarded themselves as being purely about film watching, that was pretty much all you got when you went to the cinema. Perhaps a lady with a tray around her shoulders would sell an ice cream during the interval but that was about it.

Now that cinemas have understood that they’re also in the hospitality industry, every cinema invariably serves up an array of food and drinks for customers to purchase before they go into the cinema. It’s no longer necessary to visit other shops to buy foods before a trip to the cinema.

Indeed, some cinemas, such as the Screen on the Green in Islington, or Kino-Teatr in St Leonards on Sea at Hastings have gone even further. They’ve transformed the experience inside the cinema too. There is a bar area as you enter the auditorium, and instead of the traditional rows of uncomfortable seats, you get roomy armchair type seating and even a little table or holders on the armchairs for your drinks. The experience is more like a bar restaurant.

By enhancing the customer experience inside the cinema, and carefully choosing the food and beverages to serve up, these cinemas have created revenue streams that did not previously exist, and in fact, far exceed the amount they receive from ticket sales.


The Railroads

The classic example that is given when people are talking about this topic of what business are you really in is the railroads. When Ford invented the car, the railroads saw themselves as being in the railway business. So, they didn’t respond or react. Had they perceived themselves as being in the transportation business they might have dealt with the competition that cars presented in different ways. Perhaps they may have purchased some or all the cars Ford had produced and become a major player in the emerging automotive industry.

Clearly, it makes sense to ask yourself the question ‘what business am I really in’. This is the way to ensure you adapt to the changing world and stay relevant to what customers are really wanting when they buy your products and services.

The businesses that best understand the customer and create solutions that the customer wants to buy are the ones that ultimately win.

Failing to understand the customer’s needs and wants in order to respond appropriately might sometimes mean a business is acting like the frog that gets boiled to death when it’s sitting in a pan of cold water that’s gradually heated up. That same frog would have leaped out if you had put it into a pan of boiling water.

In part two of this piece, I’m going to look at what could happen if you fail to pay attention to this question and act like a frog sitting in a pan of water that’s gradually heating up.

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What is Intellectual Property and Why Does it Matter to You?

What is Intellectual Property and Why Does it Matter to You?Every business will have intellectual property to protect, although the actions to take will be very different depending on the business and the intellectual property involved.

Say you’ve invented some innovative way to solve a problem that no one else has managed to solve. In the case of Anywayup cup it was a baby cup with an innovative lid that didn’t spill. For C-Pen it was a pen that scans the text of a document directly to your computer. A patent is available in both these situations to protect your investment.  Arguably, for product-based inventions a patent is essential because it gives you a legal monopoly in the invention. The patent, if well drafted, makes it difficult for others to copy your invention. Without patent protection well-resourced manufacturers could enter the same market once they realise you are onto something, and use their greater financial muscle to produce and publicise a similar offering.

Then suppose you have selected the perfect name for your invention and had a logo developed for it with an attractive design. How would you feel if you were to find out after spending time and resources promoting the name, that it couldn’t be exclusive to you because the name is incapable of functioning as a trademark? This is what happened to Tesco’s Clubcard. The name it chose for its loyalty program has proved impossible to protect. If this was you, wouldn’t you prefer to know about it in advance, so you could make a better choice? Or, say you find that the name is not legally available and you then lose everything overnight when a trade mark owner is able to put a stop to your continued use of your name? This is what happened to Scrabulous whose business on Facebook went up in a puff of smoke. And did you know that if you don’t take the right actions in relation to your logo, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a dispute as happened to Innocent who at one point lost the right to use their iconic logo. Would you have the resources to appeal such a decision as they did? These are just some examples of what can happen when you don’t get timely IP advice.

Every business has IP issues to consider because every business has a name, a logo, a website, a database of contacts and more. These are all intangible assets which are important to the success of a business.

What is IP?

IP is the collective name for the rights that protect creativity, imagination and ideas. It’s very wide ranging and the rules are often complex.

Trademarks identify your products or services, secure exclusive rights over the name of your business and contain the value of your brand. With the right name you can stop competitors stealing business away from you. Copyright is another essential intellectual property right. Every business uses copyright works because every business is likely to have a logo, website, brochures, photographs, packaging, software etc. Design protection is another type of IP right which is often overlooked. However, it is a powerful tool for protecting your market share and preventing competitors from copying your ideas.



The Benefits of Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Strategic decisions about IP should be made early in the business so as to make good choices of IP, and determine how best to protect yourself with your available resources.

IP presents both risks and opportunities. Used wisely, IP advice and protection

  • increases the value of your business,
  • helps grow your profit margins,
  • creates income streams,
  • attracts finance,
  • protects your market share,
  • prevents competitors from copying your ideas,
  • reduces future risks and liability (including personal liability of directors),
  • protects the effort you put into your business, and
  • gives you a legal monopoly.

Common IP Mistakes

A common mistake is to assume that IP advice is just needed if a business has a potential patent or trade mark to register. In the digital economy IP support is needed for every business.

Another error we often see, is businesses simply registering their trademark without doing any due diligence searches. It’s important to note that a trademark registration can be cancelled if someone else has better rights to the name. This is what happened to Microsoft who had registered Skydrive as a trademark only to have its use of the name challenged. Rebranding to Onedrive cost millions. Not every business has the resources of Microsoft to shoulder the costs that a rebrand invariably involves.

Some business owners justify ignoring IP on the grounds that they don’t have the resources to litigate. They wonder what is the point of protecting their IP. You’re actually much more likely to get into a dispute if you don’t register your rights than if you do. Owning registered IP rights can be a very useful bargaining tool if you find yourself threatened by a competitor. Unfortunately disputes relating to intellectual property may arise when your business has taken off and your IP has acquired value. Not protecting it could lay yourself wide open. So don’t expose yourself to litigation by not taking some basic steps to protect yourself.

How To Protect Your Intellectual Property?

IP help is important when you’re deciding how to implement your idea because the choices you make when bringing your ideas to life are all IP decisions. By consulting an IP lawyer at that early stage you are much better placed to make effective choices, and reduce the likelihood of having to undo ill considered decisions later on.Taking a holistic approach to IP is crucial.

We are well placed to help you to take control of your intellectual property so your business can flourish from a secure foundation. Do get in touch for a no obligation confidential discussion.