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January 30, 2024 79 mins

🪧 Branding Woes - The process to proceed with the perfect branding.

If your commitment-averse (like yours truly), you'll find branding one of those long-term relationships you may eventually regret. So how do you build a brand when you're not sure of what you're building in the first place?

Fair question. The answer? It's a tricky blend of approaches. Oh yeah - and it's very frustrating. But you know what's more frustrating? Having to re-brand after you've already established a committed following because you didn't follow this approach first and now a lawyer has enforced a trademark you didn't bother looking up before you launched.

Here's our process on checkin' to see if you'll still be able to use that name on the bank account to cash those corporate checks.

😭 Branding Woes - the Legal Ones

Before we fall in love with anything - let's fall in love with the legal system first - because no amount of love is gonna get you out of legal hot water. When it comes to branding - you can check two places to make sure your catchy name is in the clear: the trademark patent office and your local state's database of registered businesses.

🧐 Searching the USPTO Trademark Search

"Generally, copyrights protect creative works, and trademarks apply to brand names, phrases, and logos." So when it comes to logos and branding - we're talkin' trademark law. 

Filing a trademark for a name gives you the right to use that name nationwide for your business's products or services. It also prevents others from using your name or piggybacking on your brand. That also means that you won't be able to violate someone else's trademark just because you thought up the name - so search before you say "I do" to that perfect brand name.

  • Search the database here:

🧐 Searching your State's Registered Businesses Database. 

🚧 Now this is going to be state (or country for my outta-country-ers) specific. Meaning, I'm in Virginia, so I'll need to see if someone in my state is registered using the name. "In most cases, a business name registration protects a business and prevents others from using the same name in the same state."

🚧 You may be thinking, "Oh great - so as long as they are outta state, I'm good to go get a name tag!" Hol'up there horsey, we have to think about similar names in terms of marketing as well as legal. You surely didn't think it'd be that easy, now did ya? 

For those subscribed to the email list - here's what a complex rebranding looks like - a Google Business Profile that features both names (and the risk of keyword stuffing). It's a pain.

😭 Branding Woes - the Printed Ones

Okay - so we passed the "legal" vibe check - but we're not in the clear just yet. 🤔 Consider how your brand will look in print. 

🙄 "Heather, it'll look fine as long as I'm not getting sued for trademark violations." 

Fair - but, when logos and business names get too ✨fancy✨ they lead to a printing problem. 🚧 Tiny text - even if it's the catchiest name in the world - will spell disaster on printed materials. I find myself asking these questions when I see the potential for branding broken rules:

  • 📰 Could the logo be made more simply? Complex logos make for complex printing issues.
  • 📰 Does the logo print well using a thermal printer (the Munbyn test)
  • 📰 Does the logo fit on a 3x2 business card?
  • 📰 Does the logo fit in the square (cropped to circle) ratio for logos on Facebook / Instagram pages?
  • 📰 Is the logo unique? Does it use easy-to-access design elements (think: Canva / Etsy)?
Mark as Played

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