How you present yourself in the world of business is really important. And we mean really important–as in the life and death of your business. Every branding decision you make – or don’t make – influences the success of your brand. This is even more so for up-and-coming startups.
It’s natural for startups to want to stick to what they know. That’s why startups can often find themselves with a less than great trademark – a bad name, a poorly designed logo, or a corny slogan. But what happens when your trademark just isn’t good enough? For startups, sticking to a less than a great trademark, means they limit themselves and exclude themselves from vital marketing benefits and funding.
In situations like these, you need to address the elephant in the room. Leaving your trademark as is can only make matters worse. If you want to build a sustainable brand that will resonate with consumers, then it’s time to rethink your whole branding strategy. This includes revising some of your trademarks, like name and logo. Yes, this can be a tough decision to make, but it’s one you have to make. The longer you put it off, the more you risk losing.
We look at three reasons why you shouldn’t get attached to your current trademark if it doesn’t make the cut.
People Don’t Know You Exist
Imagine the horror of finding out that consumers don’t know if you’re still in business. This can happen to the best of us. Kodak knows this problem quite well. In fact, if you just type the brand’s name into your browser, you’ll see the most common search results. And they don’t look too good:
- Is Kodak still in business?
- Does Kodak still make cameras?
- What kind of company is Kodak?
It’s clear that the connection between Kodak and its consumers is on its last leg. One of the main reasons for this shattered relationship is that the company hasn’t introduced any vital changes to its core branding strategy. As a result, the brand’s trademark fails to resonate with modern consumer groups and the new digital era.
You Have Bitten Off More Than You Can Chew
Sears is another brand that has hit rock bottom. In October 2018, the retailer filed for bankruptcy. So how did one of the largest retailers in the United States reach such a sad state, you ask? Well, there are several factors that are responsible for the steady decline and ultimate bankruptcy of the company:
- They lost focus. Sears first became a household name for selling various home-building products. However, they later lost focus when they took on new products that didn’t really fit in with their brand identity. For instance, they added clothes, insurance, investments, banking and even real estate. Over the years, the brand drifted away so much that it became unrecognizable.
- They made too many cuts. Sometimes in business, you need to give before you can take. That’s just the way it is in the business world. And while other businesses stretch their budgets to open up new stores, upgrade existing resources, and increase workplaces, Sears did the complete opposite. In the period from 1995 to 2000 alone, the company closed over 100 stores, laid off more than 50,000 employees and discontinued their catalog. What was supposed to be a cost-cutting measure, turned out to be a branding and marketing disaster, instead?
- They refused to rebrand. When the company saw that things were headed downhill, they should have revised their branding strategy. Changing their trademark might have been the boost the brand needed to reconnect with their key consumer audience or target a new one.
Although diversification and vision are great for building a strong brand, don’t get carried away like Sears and bite off more than you can chew. It’s best to focus on fewer core products and services and continuously work on fine-tuning the ones you have. Oh, and make sure they correspond with your trademarks.
Competitors Don’t See You as Worthy Competition
You remember Blockbuster, right? Of course, you do. There’s hardly a soul who hasn’t at least heard of, if not used, their movie and game rental services. Blockbuster was a household name. You do note the use of past tense, don’t you? That’s because the brand is now but a shadow among its competitors – Netflix and Redbox.
The new digital age and the rise of the internet saw a huge disruption in Blockbuster’s business processes. Their rental services became obsolete, while their late fees were no longer acceptable to consumers. Once, their brick-and-mortar stores were a business advantage, but now they are a burden, a reminder of the past.
In light of this, we can conclude that Blockbuster’s trademark has become their greatest weakness. When consumers hear the name Blockbuster, they instantly associate it with the brand’s physical rental stores, even though the brand has moved on since then. In this sense, Blockbuster proves just how much of an impact trademarks can have on consumers. It’s really hard to detach consumers from something that’s so deeply rooted in their minds. As a result, brands should not hold on to trademarks that are sending the wrong messages to consumers, partners, and investors.
For instance, if your brand’s achievements from 10 years ago are still stealing the spotlight at every business dinner, then it’s definitely time to ditch the trademark. The worst thing you can do for your business is to bask in your past glories. Is that really all your brand is capable of? We’re hoping the answer to this question is no.
Does Your Current Trademark Need to Go?
Having a trademark that poorly represents you and your consumers is nothing short of destructive. Therefore, if your brand has any of the symptoms mentioned above, act fast. The longer you wait, the more you lose.
Don’t hold your brand from its potential. Brainstorm some new name ideas, get your design team to throw in a fresh dose of color, and work with us to set up your new trademark. Sometimes it’s just better to let go of your trademark and equip yourself with a fresh identity. So it’s out with the old – and in with the new.
Let’s talk about your options. Contact us today to find out more about our specialties and what makes us one of the best in the trademark industry.