Brand identity is an essential component of any business. Put simply, the name of your brand is the first point of communication for your business to your target market. It is a vehicle for the associations related to your product, service, reputation, quality, value, or perceived value, and so on.
The UK beer market has seen a considerable rise in trademark applications. According to an article published by the Telegraph, trademark registrations in the UK rose by 12% or 1,485 in 2014, as outlets have increasingly sought to stock craft and artisanal beers, said City law firm RPC.
Brand Naming In Overcrowded Markets
The difficulty with niche industries is that once they start to become overcrowded, you soon find yourself hard pressed at finding suitable names for your products that don’t overlap and infringe on the rights of others. This is because the more niche a market is, the more finite the descriptive naming options become. Consequently, it becomes harder to think of a name which hasn’t already been used.
For example the term ‘Hells’, derivative of the German of ‘Helles’, is a generic description for a light lager. So, Camden Town, who registered the trademark ‘Hells Lager’, prevented another brewery, Redwell, from selling under the same name. They also claimed exclusive rights in the word ‘Camden’ for bee, and prevented another London based brewer, Weird Beard Brewery Co, from using ‘Camden BeardD’.
The sticking point is that in such homogeneous markets, brand identity plays just as important a role as the taste or quality of the product. According to new reports, figures show that an estimated 3 new microbreweries open every week, whilst 30 pubs per week are closing. In these market conditions. The rat race for market dominance becomes a battle of the brands.
Brand Identity Lessons For Entrepreneurs
Most industries are relatively overcrowded, and this is largely because of the prolific use of the internet which has allowed us global access to virtually any product and service we can enter into a search engine. Getting into the game can therefore be quite daunting, and even full on intimidating. Here are a few tips on establishing your brand identity according to Entrepreneur.com:
- Know Your Market And Pre-Empt Your Competitors
Whilst it seems pretty straightforward, knowing your industry is not something which all take into full consideration. Take the above example with ‘Hells Lager’. Understanding an industry requires frequent stock taking and closely studying your competitors. It also means collecting this data and analyzing your business periodically against it to figure out what works and what does not. For example, which Intellectual Property (IP) assets are building more goodwill and which ones are not? Only in this way can you hope to build a brand identity strategy that works for your product or service, and you can keep one step ahead of your competitors, as opposed to infringing on their rights.
- Do Your Research And Trademark As Soon As Possible
The value of trademark searches and early trademark registration cannot be stressed enough. At the very least it saves you immeasurable time, money, and effort spent on trying to defend an opposition later down the line, and at best it can save you from a crippling rebranding or an expensive lawsuit.
- Collaborate And Co-Exist
Not all conflicts have to be a win-lose scenario. Most people are non-confrontational and do not want to engage in expensive legal fights. There might be scope for collaboration or registration of your trademark rights whereby you can come to mutual understanding as to the scope of use of the mark and create revenue together, or separately, without the anxiety that your brand might get shut down. Then you will have to get back to the drawing board.
Azrights deals with a plethora of different businesses on a daily basis. We can help with your business name search and offer our opinion, help you understand your most valuable IP assets through our Intelli & IP audit services and ultimately help you protect your brands through trademark registration. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about starting up in your industry.