Congratulations. You’ve done the research, hired a good graphic designer and now have a brand new Company logo. If you are starting a new business, you may not know how to take the next step. How do you take that new logo, and make it the cornerstone of your brand? I’m going to guide you through the process, from the marketing campaigns to registering your logo as a trademark. You’ll learn how to develop your logo and how to protect it from copyright/trademark infringement.
Introduction to Marketing
Since ‘logo’ is defined as an emblem of your company, when you market the logo, you are marketing the company. The logo is a potent weapon in the marketing campaign, and should be used to raise brand image, customer awareness, and create new business relationships. After all, the end goal is to increase profits, and gain a greater market share. So, the path begins with the logo and ends with raising the corporation’s value.
First Step: Promotional Items
Some corporations start off by putting their logo on flyers, brochures, and business cards, then distributing them to potential customers. The problem is people usually read a flyer then throw it in the garbage or recycling bin. It’s a smarter move to combine a brochure campaign with more durable products. How about free pens or memo pads? Office workers are always misplacing these items, and a sturdy pen or pad with your company logo will bring you extra publicity, as they float around an office.
Office calendars are even better. Have one with your logo, and contact information. With your calendar on a desk, everybody who comes into that office cubicle sees your company logo, and may think of it when they need something your firm produces.
Now that you realize your logo can be used in a variety of formats, you should find a reputable printing firm, one that has a good record, and creates quality items. You can always ask your networking contacts for recommendations, or do your research for the best printer with the most affordable rates. Bear in mind that these products speak for your firm, so you want a good solid product, not a pen that refuses to work, or a memo pad that falls apart when a page is ripped off. Narrow your selections to a few good printers, and ask to see samples of their work.
Second Step: Expand your Logo, Grow your Business
Every Logo has three elements:
- The Company name
- The image design
- Colours of the design
When you divide the logo into segments, it can enhance advertising and strengthen the logo. The logo design could be turned into an animated graphic for website ads, while the colours may be employed in other forms of advertising. One example is ‘McDonald’s” with the yellow arches on a red background. Ronald McDonald wears yellow and red clothing, and the same colours are used all over the restaurant.
The Company name can be used on smaller promotional items, such as brochures, notepads or pens.
One note of caution—keep your corporate image in mind when you segment the logo. If your company wants to establish a low key style, avoid neon colours or garish animations. You should establish advertising guidelines for the size, shape and colour of logos and visual items. It will give your graphic designers notice of what you want, and save you the expense of a losing ad campaign. Put your requirements in writing and distribute them to everybody who works on visual ads, whether it’s the corporate graphic team, or an outside firm of graphic designers. Detailed instructions create a consistent approach.
Third Step: Get Your Logo on the Internet
It’s a well-known fact that companies put their logo on the company website. The real issue is size and placement. When a future client reaches your landing page, the logo should be the first thing they see, the equivalent of a handshake. If a logo is right in the center of the page, and is large and loud, it’s like getting an overly enthusiastic slap on the back, instead of a friendly pat on the shoulder.
Placement is everything. You don’t want to hit people over the head with your logo, but you shouldn’t hide it in a sea of competing graphics and images. Aim for a balanced presentation—the logo should draw people’s attention, and the text and illustrations serve to frame the logo, not the other way around.
You can place your logo all over the Internet, not just on your company website. Consider using a Gravatar. Gravatar, or Globally Recognized Avatar is a symbol you use when you post material on the Internet. With your logo as your Gravatar, you can leave comments on industry blogs, or message boards, introducing your corporation to a new audience. You may also:
- Use advertising banners on other websites
- Begin advertising on social media: Twitter and Facebook
- Know your target audience and what websites they enjoy—advertise on those sites.
As your logo travels around the Internet, you will reach a broader segment of the public and attract new customers.
Protecting Your Logo: Get a Trademark
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a symbol or icon that informs the public that an owner has registered a company name: it is the sole property of the owner, and legal permission may be required to use it.
When a logo has been trademarked, it is the sole property of the owner and cannot be used without the owner’s written permission or consent.
There are three types of Trademarks: SM’s or Service Marks, Unregistered Trademarks or TM’s and Registered Trademark ®).
- Service Marks: these are usually used by plumbers, delivery services and cleaning companies. The SM usually appears on their trucks.
- Unregistered Trademarks ™. Unregistered trademarks are not protected under international copyright law. It would be protected under the common law of this country, but is not recognized by foreign jurisdictions, such as France, so if a French company copied your TM you would have no legal remedy
- Registered Trademarks are protected under the Federal law of the United States and by International law. Should an American company infringe your registered trademark, you could bring suit in Federal court, which permits a larger threshold of damages than State Court.
Why your Logo should be trademarked
Small companies may decide that trademarking their logo isn’t important, but they are wrong. When the time comes to sell the firm, having a registered trademark adds value to the company. It also gives protection from infringement. Suppose a competitor attempts to steal business by using a similar logo name and symbol. If you have registered the logo as a trademark, you may be able to have that business shut down. Protect your business, its symbol and image by getting the logo trademarked.
How to Trademark your Logo
Do the research. Go onto to Google, and do a search for “trademark in the US”. A search for ‘trademark’ will give you hits for India, Australia and the UK, if your firm does business outside the country. You may want to contact a trademark or patent lawyer if your firm is small, and does not have a corporate counsel. Do not take any chances with your company logo: it represents your corporation and should be protected from piracy or abuse.