What are the main differences between a trademark and a brand?

Difference between trademark and brand image

To understand what is the main difference between trademark and brand we’re going to start defining both concepts. Only when you know what’s exactly each word then you can understand what are the differences.

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a recognizable insignia, phrase or symbol that denotes a specific product or service and legally differentiates it from all other products.

A trademark serves to exclusively identify a product or service with a specific company, and is a recognition of that company's ownership of the brand.

What about a brand?

The definition of a brand is a little more complex. It is not uncommon to use the words brand and trademark interchangeably, although they are not exactly the same thing. There is a lot of confusion surrounding branding and brand identity, and how a trademark can be used to protect a brand.

If we think in general terms we can affirm that:

“A brand is a mix of tangible and intangible unique attributes employed in creating the image and language that identifies a product and its brand purpose and differentiates it from its competitors.”

That is, if a brand is all those attributes, branding is the methodology to understand, create, measure and adjust, these perceptions to optimize the relationship with the client.

Then… what’s the difference between trademark and brand?

A company’s brand is generally determined by sales and by consumer: what is it that the company provides to its customers or clients that allow it to exist and thrive? Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of coming up with just a logo and spending lots of time and money on brand awareness before they are even fully aware of their brand themselves. But really, when companies are small, they generally can’t spend huge amounts of money on ads and awareness. Instead, they hustle to make sales, create new connections, build their lists of contacts, and grow.

Your brand is essentially the encapsulation of how your customers or clients feel when they work with you, or use your products. And after months or years of building a business and a reputation, you are definitely going to want to protect your brand.

Though it would be a great idea to do it from the beginning, to avoid any problem.

What do we mean by protect? Well, you want to ensure that someone else can’t profit from your brand at your expense by stealing customers or clients, or negatively impacting your reputation. This is where trademarks and branding come together. By associating your brand with a recognizable trademark, you allow your customers/clients, and potential customers/clients to identify the products or services that are actually yours. You can protect your brand’s equity – the goodwill that you build up that compels others to do business with you.

Once you have identified the importance for a branding strategy, it can be helpful to bring in outside help. A fresh set of eyes, as well as a team that knows the right questions to ask to help you clarify the vision of your brand can be extremely useful. If you are focused on running the day to day of your business, we suggest you work with a team like The Brave Brands to build a brand strategy that can encompass all facets of your business identity.

Trademarks and brands working together: Registration!

The final step in the process, then, will be to register any logos or words that you want to have exclusively associated with your brand in the jurisdiction in which you plan to operate. Today with the prevalence of e-commerce, it is also important to think about your global brand protection strategy. This means thinking ahead and determining what jurisdictions you plan to operate the most in, and being sure to protect your brand there, as well.

Remember that by protecting your brand and registering your trademark, you are doing more than just protecting yourself. You are also protecting consumers from false representations of your product or service, and in turn driving innovation by forcing competitors to develop new technologies. Really, everybody wins!

Do you have questions about your brand? Do you understand the difference between trademark and brand? Do you work in a startup and need branding assistance? Or are you a veteran CEO who wants to re-vamp their brand? Get in touch with one of our consultants and we can point you in the right direction. Do you already have your logo and want to register? Chat with us now and request a quote!

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