What happens after TM registration? – A Brand’s promise


30. June 2022

By Mariana Volpi. Lawyer.

As the need for adequate brand protection has grown, so has the importance of a strong brand promise.  It is now a well-established fact that registering your Brand’s name, symbol, and – just about – anything that distinguishes the goods of your company from another as a Trademark is not only highly recommended, but also integral to your company’s growth potential. Several studies show that businesses that protect their IP early on time tend to have a very different growth trajectory compared to non-trademark filing ones.

In 2020, Ocean Tomo Intangible Asset Market Value Study stated that intangible assets are now commanding 90% of the S&P500 market value. In short, with each passing year the value of Intangible assets has increased, as displayed below:

 

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This increase in value comes from building a strong brand. Registration alone will not ensure a company has a valuable and strong brand – it is no secret that not all brands are worth the same. When it comes to intangible assets – especially regarding your brand – it’s what you do after registration that really counts.

Strong brands are achieved through branding. The Branding Journal states that branding is the process of giving meaning to a specific organization by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. Hence, a strong brand focuses its efforts on obtaining value through the consumption of a product or service to which marketing and advertising give meaning.

The objective of branding is to attract and retain loyal customers by delivering a product or service that is always aligned with what the brand promises. Successful brands understand that when buying a product or service  (say, a Prada handbag), we are not only buying the objective benefits that come with it (such as having somewhere cute to put our stuff in) but also -and arguably more important- the perceived benefits as well (like the sense of belonging to an exclusive club that comes with the bag).

In other words, when purchasing a product or service from a specific brand, consumers are really buying a promise from the brand itself. The brand promise shapes the perceived value associated with its products and services and generates an expectation that something will happen. This “something” could go from the mentioned sense of exclusivity that comes from a luxury product to the happiness of sharing a moment with our friends and family while enjoying a Diet Coke, or the inspiring feeling created from products at the cutting edge of technology and innovation like Apple offers.

A brand promise is, therefore, the value that a company’s customers expect to receive when interacting with them. It is crucial because it influences buying decisions, thus generating direct revenue for the Business.

How is it that brands build this promise? With words and facts. The brand promise is closely related to the actions derived from communication.  The communication of the brand connects with the consumer on an emotional level and results in emotional states such as confidence, happiness, and the promise of helping achieve psychological feelings such as identity and belonging.

Of course, it is not enough to promise (market and advertise). To achieve strength, brands must also deliver. The feelings and benefits promised through communication must be validated by the actual product or service experience once interacting with the company’s service/product. In this sense, communication that builds brand promise refers not only to the actions carried out by the organization to communicate its differentiators but also to the one the independent media do about the “subject” (such as the word-of-mouth generated around the brand itself).  Brand strength can also refer to the number of people who associate the brand with this idea proposed by the company through communication. A strong brand is a shared idea.

Having a good product or service is crucial, but no longer enough. Good products and services are everywhere and easy to find a replacement for. Modern competition does not revolve around hard facts about the products or services, but around concepts and ideas instead. A brand name is associated with a unique and attractive idea or concept, that acts as the source of influence for the purchase, and will many times cause a consumer to go for an objectively less-quality alternative if the perceived quality is higher. To succeed, a strong brand must associate its name with concepts or ideas that resonate with them.

Consumers must believe what you are saying and associate your brand with the same ideas that you do. Here is where the brand’s identity, purpose, and values become important: they all need to be defined and aligned with the brand promise, to be able to keep it

As the main takeaway, it’s a known fact that having a strong brand will directly impact sales, contributing to an increased company revenue. To be chosen by consumers and gain their loyalty, a brand must make them a clear promise of a benefit that will come with the product or service, that exceeds the objective need and, unlike it, cannot be fulfilled by the competition. The brand promise is the extra mile that companies need to go to differentiate their services and products from competitors.

The goal is to reach brand transcendence and a loyal customer base that trusts your proposal and believes in your purpose. This will make a brand – and therefore, a company-survive the fast-pacing change of technology and consumer needs and interests: the advocacy of consumers that believe your promise, as it lines up with your identity and purpose and is used to you deliver on it.

The promise of a brand is crucial and to be delivered, it must be originated by its purpose. The brand’s purpose, what it stands for, what it believes in, and why it does what it does is communicated to the audience. The “what” of a brand comes only as an organic result of its “why”. Hence, when managing your brand, be sure to (1) understand your purpose and (2) make promises you can deliver.

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