When the Tata motors bought Jaguar back in 2008, why did they buy it? For the quality of their products? Their technology? May be. Similarly, when Geeley Motors of China acquired the Swedish brand Volvo and Krafty bought Cadbury, what did they buy it for? They were all bought because of the brand name that they had acquired over a period of time, in addition to of course their technology and quality of products.

Even at a personal level, most of us are inclined to buying “branded” products. The reason you bought that phone recently is not because it has a Super LCD3 capacitive touchscreen or Corning Gorilla Glass 3 but because of the brand that the phone is associated it. The reason I can say this with so much conviction is because I know for a fact that no one would purchase a similar looking phone having the same features as this phone if it is not associated with any such well reputed brand and which in fact can be bought for half the price of the “branded” phone.

What an impact!

A brand is an intangible yet a very powerful corporate asset. It is a known fact that strong brands enable businesses to generate sales in huge volumes as it is that factor that differentiates it from another brand. The underlining fact here is that people believe that the brand is reliable and offers them something that other brands cannot, they trust it and they believe that it is the best.

What makes a brand is the overall look and feel of it, that is to say its uniqueness lies in its shape, colour, design etc. Over a period of time, consumers start to easily identify the product because of its logo, design and shape. Let’s take the example of any of the Apple products. The bitten apple on the back of the products is a trademark, the shape of the phone is an industrial design, and even the icons used inside the phone are trademarked. What took me by surprise is that apple even has a domain that is dedicated solely for “celebrating Apple’s Spirit of Invention” which basically is a blog focussed on Apple’s latest Intellectual Property! It is the brand building that not only makes your IP more valuable in the long run but also increases customer loyalty.

So the point is while the big companies out there are aware of the various IP rights and enhance it by way of brand building, the SMEs and new start-ups are yet to discover that even their product or service is using and creating a great deal of intellectual property rights and should thus focus on brand building which will eventually help them in the long run. In all such cases what needs to be considered is how best to use the IP system to one’s own advantage.

Brand and trademark:

It is not enough for you to just build a brand name; it is equally important for you to protect your brand name which can be done by registering it as a trademark. In fact, it is not wrong to say that brand names and trademarks are synonymous to each other. The stronger your brand is, the more vulnerable it becomes, in the sense that it will then be susceptible to unauthorized third party adaptations. In such cases, having a trademark protection for your brand will help you ward off unauthorised third parties. On the other hand, once you have registered your brand name as a trademark, you can license it and get royalties or assign it for a huge consideration and benefit out of the registration.

So the bottom line is that branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for the big ones. The benefits of branding outweigh the almost non-existent disadvantages. Branding helps you build a long-term relationship with your consumers, it enhances product recognition, builds brand equity, acts as a product differentiator, provides a platform for growth etc. The list just goes on. So start concentrating on building your brand if you haven’t already!

This article has been authored by Durga Bhatt, an IP Law practitioner.