How safe is your brand reputation? You’ve worked on establishing your brand online for a couple of years now. Your blog posts have a great following, you’re at the top of page one on Google and you’re the go to guy for info in your niche. Now that sounds pretty solid. Or is it? If you haven’t trade marked your brand and have your reputation management under control then all your business building efforts could be shipwrecked overnight!
Does that sound scary? Of course it does but it can really happen and it could happen to you if you don’t take the right precautions. The best example here is what happened recently to a guy who has a great website that he has been working on for over two years. His blog posts from around the world give a good picture of what you can expect if you want to get ideas about working in different places. He gets regular comments on his blog posts, is in 157 Goole+ circles, has over 2,700 Likes on his Facebook page and has a legion of Twitter followers. I would call that a pretty solid brand, but like many other online brands, he didn’t trade mark it. I have no idea if this was an oversight or bad advice but the fact is that he is now having a big problem because a large staff hiring corporation has trade marked the text of his domain name and has been using it online for a contest. Just imagine what a situation like this would do for your business if your brand was hijacked like that.
What do you need to do to prevent you business form finishing up in the same situation as Turner? The answer is – implement good Reputation Management. It’s a term that is often associated with no more than watching over who says what about your business online but there is a lot more to it than that. It doesn’t matter if your business is an offline business, offline with an online presence or a totally online business. Once you have established a persona in the form of a company name, brand name, domain name or logo there is only one guaranteed way that you can keep it uniquely yours and that is by securing it with a trade mark. If your business is purely local than a country based trade mark would most likely be sufficient but an online business would need international trade marking. And it doesn’t stop with that. Once you’ve registered your trade mark you need a watching brief to monitor applications for names that could be similar to yours and hence could cause confusion or even have the potential to be misleading.
I don’t have any legal qualifications and don’t claim to be knowledgeable in the field of trade marking or any associated legal topics. I do however speak from experience. My first business, after I left the corporate world, was a vineyard and a graphics designer came up with a truly unique logo. Fortunately I had a good lawyer overseeing the legal side of establishing the business and they recommended that I trade mark the logo. I followed their advice and I also asked them to keep a watching brief over trade mark applications for similar designs. That has proved well worth it as there were two applications within a short period of time that we needed to object to.
Do you have any potential trade mark issues with your business? If so, I would suggest that you seek legal advice about your situation. It may involve some costs but it could be well worth your while in the long run. Get your brand reputation under control by safe guarding with a trade mark as the basic starting point.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions about reputation management that you’d like to run by me, all you need to do is use the online booking form on this page to get a 20 minutes obligation free consultation call with me.