The infamous reality star Snooki was caught on tape in the MTV reality show Jersey Shore carrying a high end label designer bag. The counterfeit police were alerted, but to everyones surprise, the bag was an original. When this came to the attention of the marketing director of said brand, someone in the marketing department was expected to get fired quickly. Who had had the poor judgment to place this respectable brand in the hands of a scandal beauty in a dubious reality show? Imagine the shock when it turned out that Ms. Polizzi, AKA Snooki, had bought the bag with her own money from an authorized retailer. I don’t know how this particular story ended, but I think a lot of telephone conversations took place, and I think the handbag was no longer seen in the show.
What I do know, is that the French fashion company Lacoste tried to get assistance from the Norwegian police to stop Anders Behring Breivik from wearing their shirts at the trial after the horrific shootings on Utöya in Norway. Of course the police could not assist them in this matter.
These stories show that in spite of the efforts made to fill your brand with positive associations, you have little influence on the environment where it is used and seen. Think long and hard about how you want to portray your brand, and how you want to be portraid. Besides choosing a name that captures the essence of your business, consider what image you want to convey. The more work you put into filling your brand with positive associations, the harder it is to undermine.
A good start is to find out as much as possible about your projected target customers. Who are they? What do they want? How can you make them feel secure in that you are the only one that can fulfill their needs or have a solution to their particular problem. Then you develop a brand strategy and make sure that you have a logo that constitutes an extension of your business and, of course, will not be confused with someone elses logo. Think of your logo as a small ad for your company. Be sure not to start with a cool logo just to find out that it does not play well with your brand strategy, or, even worse, is easily mistaken for a competitors logo. More than one company has made this mistake and it can be costly to re-design and market a new logo. You can also take your time to come up with a story around your brand. Preferably a true story, because it will be scrutinized. My suggestion, of course, is that money spent on an IP consultant in this matter is money well spent in the long run.
Now to my question. Being a grandmother of two, and proudly wearing my Converse All Stars all summer long, I think it’s pretty cool for a brand to be able to attract generation after generation with sneakers that continuously renew themselves!
Elisabeth Åhrberg, LL.M. at Awapatent