After all, you put a lot of money, time and effort into that brand, and seeing it to success has been no easy feat.
Unfortunately, once a brand is successful, it also becomes a target. Competitors look to mimic it, opportunists try to take it down, and money mongers look to capitalize on it every chance they get.
If you want to ensure your brand doesn’t fall victim to one of these foes, it’s important to take steps to protect it – both legally and competitively – before it’s too late.
Want to protect your brand for the long haul? Just take these steps:
Trademark and copyright it
Get a trademark for your brand name, your logo and your motto, and copyright any content or programs that are unique to your company. If you have unique products or offerings, you may even be able to get a patent, too, either on the design or the function of the item. This will protect someone from copying your work or using your branding without your permission.
Police your brand
Hire a team member to police your brand name, logo and other trademarked collateral and watch for unauthorized use. If you can’t afford the extra staff, simply set up a Google alert for your brand name and product names. Is a random company selling a knock-off product on Amazon, but using your brand or product name? Has your logo been used on the brochure of an add-on product or accessory without your permission? Be on the lookout for these illegal uses, and report them to your legal department ASAP. They can send a cease and desist letter or, if this is not heeded, take legal action against the perpetrator.
Create ironclad contracts
If you outsource any of your brand’s work, whether it be design, copywriting or even just consulting, make sure your third-party contracts are ironclad. You want any work that’s produced on your behalf – including the final deliverables and the intellectual property itself – to be yours and yours alone once the transaction is complete. Contractors should never be able to use what they’ve created for you for their own benefit (like selling it to a competitor, for example).
Make your brand as unique and distinctive as possible, and steer clear of generalities on all counts. Naming your company something basic, like “Secure Door Company” is a lot harder to protect than something more specific, like “LockDown Entries, Inc.” The same goes for your products. Keep the names descriptive, creative and unique, and you’ll have an easier time policing your brand and enforcing your trademarks.
Venture outside the U.S.
You might not have the bandwidth to sell internationally now, but that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. Take steps to protect your brand and products in other countries too. Start with the big ones, like China, the UK, Canada and Japan, and venture out from there. You don’t want someone else using your idea and name to their own ends!
How well protected is your branding? Need advice for ensuring your aviation brand’s long-term success? Contact the experts at Haley Aerospace today. We’re here to help.