Why SMEs Need Outsourced Brand Management

2024 brand management Jun 12, 2024
Why SMEs Need Outsourced Brand Management

Although brand IP is relevant to professionals as well as to businesses, I target business owners.

Designers, marketers, lawyers and other advisers need the information I share because it’s a tool of their trade. But I direct my newsletters and content, such as my book Brand Tuned, the New Rules of Branding, Strategy, and Intellectual Property, at business owners. That’s because businesses have most to lose or gain from the impact of IP.

They are the ones who must be alive to IP issues before engaging agencies and freelancers. It’s unwise to expect service providers to look after your interests and to take the right actions for you, especially when it comes to IP.

So you need to protect your own interests.

Correct business design is as much about the CHOICES you make of identifiers such as name, logo, symbols, tagline, sounds, imagery, colours, shapes, packaging designs etc as it is about protecting IP through trademark registration.

Decisions about identifiers involve IP subtleties that must be reflected in the choices made. As few business owners have a good grasp of how IP impacts their business and brand, it’s worth involving a brand management expert on their team to oversee design work so IP advice is baked into the final choices. That’s the best way to create a strong brand.

As I explained in Design For The Long Term it’s misguided to change a business’ visual identity once the business is more than 5 years old.

Your distinctive look and feel is the way consumers recognise and distinguish your business from that of competitors.

Designers may suggest a rebrand because they’re creatives wanting to improve things visually. However, radical changes to branding are rarely a good idea from an IP perspective.

Changing your existing visual identity could make you more difficult to recognise and may adversely impact sales. You would also lose the benefit of some of your existing trademark registrations.

More than 96% of businesses are micro businesses, i.e. businesses with fewer than 10 team members.

Unlike large businesses, micro businesses rarely employ a dedicated brand manager experienced in marketing and branding, with ready access to a knowledgeable legal team.

In large businesses brand managers are in charge of brand related matters, co-ordinating across the organization to implement the company’s brand strategy.

Micro businesses need to manage their brand themselves by understanding the issues to focus on before engaging external support and suppliers.

If a business owner doesn’t know how brand IP impacts their business, there’s a risk of embarking on projects that waste the company’s time and money and even cause it a setback rather than improving the business’ prospects.

So, it’s important to know what really matters to your bottom line when it comes to establishing your brand and undergoing visual branding exercises.

I believe a new breed of professional advisory service is needed so IP enabled brand management support is available to businesses.

A brand management outsourced service works in a similar way to Finance Director or CFO outsourced services. Just as a company might want the specialist skills a finance director could offer, even though it has its own accountants, so an outsourced brand management service would be different to a purely legal service offered by IP or other law firms.

A brand manager should have multi-disciplinary skills involving a good understanding of intellectual property as well as marketing and branding.

In large businesses a brand manager has a broad level of knowledge so they recognize when to involve various departments and disciplines or to help choose external suppliers.

If the company decides to alter aspects of the brand, such as its name or visual identity, a good brand manager will know enough about trademarks to bring lawyers in early on. Whether the company needs packaging changes, product designs, creative advertising, marketing campaigns, IT to enhance the website, or legal, regulatory, or IP advice, such as to clear a proposed symbol: it is the job of the brand manager to look out for the company’s interests and involve the right experts in projects.

If IP focused brand management advisory services existed, all businesses could access the brand and IP guidance they need when embarking on visual identity or brand-building exercises.

That is where Brand Tuned comes in.

I created it because I saw a need for an outsourced brand management advisory service to SMEs. One that’s distinct from legal services such as contract drafting or trademark registration.

Brand Tuned exists so businesses can get the brand IP support and guidance they need. It’s a bridge between branding and legal services.

With support from Brand Tuned a business would have the benefit of brand management guidance in its business to bolster its brand protection.

To date Brand Tuned has focused on education in brand IP, by offering resources such as its Bonus Brand Tuned Program. We will shortly be launching our outsourced brand consultancy packages for SMEs.

If in the meantime you’re embarking on a branding or rebranding project, or are contemplating an exit and would like to consider Brand Tuned’s outsourced brand management support to assist your project do send me an email and I’ll provide more information.