Brands are Intellectual Property

 

Bill Bathurst

Real Estate, Brand Strategy, Business Development

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Brands are Intellectual Property

Posted by Bill on October 17th, 2011

Brands are Intellectual PropertyMost people think of patents or science when they hear the term intellectual property, which I feel blemishes the thinking about the need to intersect it with the creative process. Intellectual property, as it relates to branding, includes all aspects of marketing. How does a company ensure that if and when it invests in developing new science for its products, the brand it builds to sell that product will have long-term staying power, be protected and produce a greater return on investment?

The key to developing and maintaining brand economic success is to design intellectual property strategy into the creative and innovation process from the beginning. Whether you are part of executive or senior management, or a company owner, you will find marketing trends are increasing the need to think about combining intellectual property strategy with the creative process. Thinking about intellectual property at the outset of the creative process means that you will have a product with longer and more sustainable value and the right strategy to protect your brand can increase its value.

Long-lasting intellectual property must be the result of creativity and innovation activities. This requires an approach that includes your internal teams working together:

  • A buy-in from top management
  • R&D
  • Sales teams
  • Marketing (that would include your corporate communications personnel)

Everyone must have an understanding of how branding can create powerful and economically valuable intellectual property. If you approach the brand process this way, you can get the job done faster, utilizing fewer resources, reducing costs and increasing your path to success. But to do so, some assumptions that permeate most companies must be changed and new processes embraced. What I’m referring to hear is taking a more serious approach to marketing communications overall.

A few of the components that can be protected as valuable intellectual assets of the company include:

  • Product name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Design of the product
  • Design of the packaging
  • Distinctive colors of the product or packaging
  • Copy in the ad
  • Script of the commercial
  • Look and feel of the retail location or point of sale
  • Distinctive sounds and smells associated with the product/campaign
  • Music that accompanies the ad campaign
  • Content created on the website

All these above elements are protected by:

  • Trademarks
  • Trade secrets
  • Copyright
  • Design patents

To summarize, thinking about intellectual property in the middle of the creative process or at the end of the process is too late. Protecting every facet of the campaign strategically means it can last longer, have a greater impact, and produce a higher return on investment for your company.


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