Companies that protect their brands pay 17% higher salaries and generate 21% more revenue than those that do not. A brand is an intangible asset and its scope, as a percentage of the total value of a company, has increased enormously in recent years. It is clear that the professional development of brands brings great opportunities for value creation.

Integrated brand management across operations is key to building the value of a company’s image, reputation, and goodwill. Brand protection is often overlooked, even though it is a key factor for value creation.

When marketing people talk about brands and when lawyers discuss trademark law, there is usually a general agreement that there is significant value in brands. But what do we mean by brand? The definition is not precisely the same in brand theory as it is in trademark law. However, despite moving in different directions, there is agreement about the fundamental issues, and with better cooperation, these two areas can contribute to increased value creation and corporate success.

What is it worth?

First, both agree that the brand is a valuable asset. The value of companies in many markets is reflected mostly in the value of the brand. Although methods of measuring value are not standardized, there is some agreement that brand value is the added value that the brand gives to a product, service, or company. The benefits to companies from well-thought-out brand management include more efficient and effective marketing operations, increased customer loyalty, an increased likelihood of successful brand extensions, and greater price elasticity. In short, customers are more likely to buy a product with a high brand value, and they are willing to pay a higher price for it. 

The above is a huge competitive advantage. Every part of the company works hard to this end, and the value that is created is real. This is best seen in the valuation of a company’s brand when the ownership of a brand changes; these days, a company’s most valuable asset is its brand. For this value creation to take place, it is necessary to consider that a company’s connection with the consumer, the brand, is a real asset of the company. A brand that has been carefully chosen and protected not only ensures that this value creation is not lost on the company, but also provides a new business tool that might even become a direct source of income.

What is so special?

For consumers, a good brand must be easily understood and distinguishable from other brands. This is where brand theory and trademark law come together. To have a trademark registered, it must also be distinguishable from other trademarks. It must not be too general, too descriptive of the business, or too similar to other trademarks on the market.

A clear brand policy and well-defined objectives properly integrated into every aspect of the organization are essential. The value lies precisely in the brand’s connection with customers and where the brand is positioned in their minds. This connection can be lost if the brand is not sufficiently differentiated in the market. In this case, brand theory and trademark law are coming from different directions, but still marching in step. 

Brand value building does not happen by itself. A strong brand with clear differentiation in the market is seldom a coincidence, rather, it is based on long development work. Making the right marketing decisions to keep the brand distinct in the market and in the minds of consumers is vital. It is also necessary to ensure the protection of the brand and the values behind it. Again, brands and trademarks come together under one flag.

Authors: Dr. Fridrik Larsen, Associate Professor at the University of Iceland and founder of brandrJón Gunnarsson, Communications Manager at the Icelandic Intellectual Property Office (ISIPO).

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Jón Gunnarsson

Jón Gunnarsson

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