How to Use IP strategically to Create a Distinctive Brand

blog branding branding strategy podcast Jun 07, 2022

Brand and IP strategy need to be considered together when a brand is first created. This is something we discussed last week in some of the feedback sessions on the prototype Brand Tuned Accreditation program.

Thank you to those of you who took part. As a gesture of my thanks you get to join the program at half price up to the end of 2023. We do not plan on offering discounted prices once the first 20 places are filled.

If you have already registered your interest you will receive full details about the course (its price, start date and how to sign up) next week when we send you the brochure. If you haven’t registered your interest the brochure will be available to download on the Brand Tuned Accreditation page.

The Accreditation program is for marketers, designers, and IP lawyers who are involved in the creation of new brands. It offers the opportunity to develop the multi-disciplinary skills in business, marketing, design thinking and IP to better support early-stage business clients.

The IP that will be taught in the program is at high level rather than country specific legal minutiae. It is likely to be new information for many IP lawyers too because the focus is on branding and that type of information doesn’t come up in the day to day work of IP practitioners. It’s information you need to know when creating the strategy for new brands.

Although the program is based on my Brand Tuned book it is considerably more advanced, given that I have qualified in marketing and brand management and attended numerous branding courses since I wrote the book.

What was striking as I went through these courses was how they all emphasised the importance of brand strategy but didn’t mention intellectual property. For established brands, that may be acceptable but brand strategy for new brands must include IP strategy as a central component of the brand’s strategy.

If you offer a brand strategy service to create new brands by treating IP as a separate exercise for lawyers to address after the brand name has already been chosen or the brand has been designed, you are not being strategic about IP.

The concept of distinctiveness in trade mark law needs to be applied when creating a brand. IP strategy must be discussed with clients before choosing names and other identifiers because the client’s ambition, and budget for brand protection impacts what would be an appropriate choice of name and visual or aural designs.

It’s just plain wrong to relegate IP to availability searching and registration when you’re creating new brand elements. The importance of distinctiveness has been highlighted by the evidence-based findings of the Ehrenberg Bass Institute, and among other things, that involves understanding and applying the legal concept of distinctiveness to brands you help create. 

To learn more, access the Brand Tuned Accreditation brochure now.

Series 6 of the Brand Tuned podcast will focus on differentiation and positioning. In the meantime, we are reposting some of the best podcasts from the archives, and this week the spotlight is on Rory Sutherland’s interview.