The Brand Imperative: protecting your brand’s look and feel

You’ve spent a long time building, presenting and marketing your brand; time spent on design and colour, look and feel, with a view to the most effective impact on customer experience. So, the worst thing you can do at this point is not take those extra steps to protect your brand from theft, trolls, and the effect of poor communication.

It’s one thing to have a great product – but following that should be a good customer experience when interacting with your brand. Customers experience a host of senses and reactions when dealing with their purchases, or just coming across your product and service through advertising. And each time the customer and your brand meet, the moment should be one of inspiration and satisfaction; a good feeling. Ensuring consistency of that experience is vital; ensuring that it is honest, authentic and without stain, is one of the most important aspects of your branding efforts.

How to protect your brand

Your website:

Your foremost touchpoint is often your website. You’re wanting to ensure your brand reaches its intended audience. Keeping your domain name short, unique and easy to remember is important, and preventing theft of your online identity is key. Purchase .com, .net and .org versions for branding. This will prevent the devious from riding on your name. However, being online can open your business to duplicity and identity theft on a wide scale; fraudsters can create a duplicate website that looks just like yours, and consumers cannot tell the difference. And the worst part is that customers may make purchases from this site, thinking it’s yours.

Copyright on your logo:

You can protect your logo by having copyrighted – just as you can any piece of music or any original work. In this way, no one else can display your work without consent. It also means another company cannot steal your logo, keeping your brand separate and apart from any competitors.

Trademarks:

You can also register your brand as a trademark, protecting it similarly to copyright, but clearly making everyone aware that this symbol, slogan or design which identifies and distinguishes your ‘look’, belongs to you. It helps to give strength and power to your brand.

Getting in the law:

If you’re not familiar with the various laws surrounding business protection, it’s important that you consult an expert. Everything from copyright and patents through to having employees sign contracts or non-disclosure agreements must be legally undertaken to ensure security. A lawyer can take you through all the necessary actions required to protect your brand.

Tracking word of mouth:

Brand protection also runs to what people are saying about your brand. And there’s nowhere better to find that out than online. There are numerous tools that can help you to do this, giving you feedback on what people are saying, as well as how effective your marketing campaigns might be. Take a look at Social Mention, TweetReach, Google Alerts and Go Fish Digital – all valuable assets in protecting brand identity.

Authentic brand story:

Every brand should have its own unique story; a beginning and a journey. Keep your brand real and close to people by being honest and open about struggles, goals, mistakes, complaints and reparations. And renewals. In this way, people feel part of the story, more personally connected. They will like your image of drive and persistence and motivation through challenge.

Staff buy-in (+ your personal brand):

The success of your brand and protection of its reputation is as much about your staff and how they view their loyalty to the brand; how they promote it as genuinely the best they know in the market. This depends on good training. Their enthusiasm and persuasion are key factors, along with your own personality shining through, giving your brand your own style and inspiration, the look and feel that exudes your own aspirations for impetus and achievement.

The consistency of brand values:

Consistently promoting your business values through your brand is fundamental to marketing strategies, campaigns, and impressions. What you stand for, what you believe in, and how you motivate your business goals to include improvements in society, should be inextricably linked to your brand image – thus helping to protect your brand from copycats and other destructive elements.

Understanding how your customer reads you

There are three aspects to take care of when customers visit your site:

  • The language, tone and style of communication.
  • The look and feel of the site, and how closely it resembles the brand image.
  • If they make a purchase, how easy the process is, and how making that purchase will make them feel.

There’s an emotional response – and the way they experience that will affect their view of your brand – and obviously any future interaction. Your prime function here, in connecting them positively with your brand, is ensuring that they make a return visit, and that every visit elicits the same response.

Helping to protect your brand is what we do at Out of the Blue!

Come and talk to us. We’re in that edgy business of surprise called marketing. At Out of the Blue Creative Communication Solutions, we work with clients to build communications that do better business through concepts that are smart and relevant.

Find us at: www.outoftheblue.co.za