5 Most Critical Considerations When Developing Your Brand Protection Strategy
This is the first article in Julie Tolek’s series on developing a dynamic brand protection strategy.
A thoughtful brand protection strategy includes multiple facets that explore various angles of protection while simultaneously remaining dynamic and flexible to change as new challenges are discovered. At first blush, the phrase “brand protection” may sound limited to a name or a logo. However, brand protection goes even further, to include other factors such as quality of the products or services delivered, the company’s reputation with its consumers, careful consideration of competitors, and the impact the company has on a global scale.
At the ground level, companies that have several established brands and trademarks (including a “house” mark) would benefit from taking a birds-eye-view of their portfolio to identify strengths and weaknesses as a whole. For example, there may be trademarks that are not being used in commerce as effectively as they could be, or perhaps the company has branched into different geographies and has not yet filed trademarks in those locations, leaving the brand vulnerable to bad actors.
When it comes to a company’s most valuable asset – its brand and reputation – a strategic plan of protection must be put into place using the right building blocks. This article outlines some of these building blocks and how they fit into the larger brand protection scheme, while future articles will go deeper into each one. In the meantime, consider these 5 Most Critical Considerations When Developing Your Brand Protection Strategy:
Conduct A Risk Assessment
Before you can implement a brand protection strategy, you must determine what you are trying to protect, who you are trying to protect it from, and why you want to protect. A thorough risk assessment should include a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis and a competitive landscape and analysis of your largest competitors. This due diligence will help in creating a thorough brand protection strategy.
Involve All Stakeholders
A brand protection strategy, both in conception and implementation, will involve people from different departments. Contemplate which departments should be involved and determine the key individuals whose ideas, commitment, and buy-in you need to move forward. Not having the appropriate people involved may lead to a weak or inefficient brand protection strategy.
Put Brand Monitoring Services In Place
There are many types of monitoring services that can provide detailed information about how your mark is being used in commerce, including whether other companies are applying for similar trademarks, if the trademark appears on third party commerce sites in the form of counterfeits or by infringers, and by monitoring web domains for spoofed or confusing URLs. Knowing how your mark is being used will help determine the strategic types of actions to take to keep it protected.
Focus On Proactive Measures Rather Than Reactive Measures
Plan now, protect now – don’t wait until something “bad” happens before you start thinking about what you should have done to protect your brand. Proactive planning offers an organized way of handling issues as they arise and making it efficient to pivot if necessary. For example, registering your copyright or trademark with United States Customs and Border Protection helps stop infringers and producers of counterfeit goods before their products make their way into the United States’ stream of commerce, rather than trying to remove them after the fact. Proper planning also gives confidence to stakeholders that they are safe with you, whether the stakeholder is an employee or a consumer.
Consider Whether a CSR Should Be Part Of The Overall Brand Strategy
Implementing a CSR, or corporate social responsibility statement, has become increasingly important to a brand’s success. Thoughtful consumers want to know that there are good people and fair practices in the DNA of a brand, and most employees and other stakeholders value these issues as well. A CSR that incorporates a brand’s mission and values in both a personal and global manner, will stand out from the crowd and earn respect and support as a company and as a brand.
There are many components of a brand protection strategy, and not all of them will apply to every business. The challenges that brand owners face today vary depending on the type of business, including whether the business has already developed a brand or is starting from scratch or rebranding, whether the company does business internationally, the target consumer profile, and whether the company is in the business of selling goods or providing services. Future articles will continue to explore and expand upon these important considerations in building a brand protection strategy, starting with Conducting A Risk Assessment.
This article is for informational purposes, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and may be considered advertising under applicable state laws. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only and are not necessarily shared by Dilworth IP, its other attorneys, agents, or staff, or its clients.