What’s in a name? Creating strategic trade marks

Brand + Business x Christine Moody, BA GradDip(Comn)(Dist) FAIM FDIA GAICD*

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In my previous blog, Managing and protecting your valuable assets: Your trade marks, I outlined the importance of protecting your valuable assets—your trade marks­—via formal registration and ongoing maintenance.

What I didn’t emphasise though is that protecting your brand identity actually starts well before the trade mark application process with IP Australia.

To offer the best protection and to create a valuable identity, you need to consider your overall business and brand strategy, preferably before a name is even chosen.

For new businesses or brands, this begins with understanding your business model and its structure. Holding a meeting with your accountant and lawyer will enable you to understand your options and which entity will own your intellectual property.

You need to understand the structure and the pros and cons of each structure as it may also affect your business and personal tax liabilities down the track. This is something that you need to revisit annually to make sure that your business structure suits your current and future requirements. Things change and your structures need to keep up your needs.

Once you understand the structure, and before any logo work commences, it’s best to check with ASIC and a domain hosting company, to ensure that the name you want for your business is available.

You should check the availability of both .com.au and .com for your website domains. After tackling the legal and accounting framework, it’s important to understand and document your company’s vision.

This is your unique story and the one that your staff, suppliers, and other stakeholders will hear over and over again. It is your ‘Why?’.

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name…

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name, so it’s imperative you choose the right name for the business. Ask yourself, ‘Will it allow me to pivot into new innovative areas of new products and services?’, ‘Is it easy to spell and say?’, ‘Does it need a tagline to help explain the name?’.

Only after completing these tasks should you think about designing your logo and brand identity. Even though the design phase is the exciting and fun bit of starting a business, it may all go to waste if you haven’t done your homework first.

Without strategic thinking and brand planning, you may not be able to register the business name and identity (the trade mark) you choose..And this means a missed opportunity to protect your valuable assets and your trade mark

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Yankees Stadium NYC x Christine Moody)

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