Starting a new business takes a lot of hard work. Not only do you have to decide what products and services you want to sell and how you intend to reach your target market, but you also need to figure out how you want consumers to feel when they think about your brand. When they think of you, do you want them to feel safe and secure? Happy and at peace? Or maybe you’re going for relaxed and rejuvenated?
Once you know this, the next step is to build that type of reputation so that you elicit the desired response. After that, it involves putting certain actions in place in order to protect that reputation so that nothing tarnishes it, potentially reducing the integrity or character of your brand. How do you do that? Here are four options to consider.
Secure your business domain
One of the simplest ways to protect your startup’s brand online is to buy your new business’s domain names in bulk before someone else has the opportunity to buy it themselves. This enables your customer base to find you more easily by using a web address that makes the most sense for your business.
Oftentimes, businesses use their name as their URL, like Amazon.com or McDonalds.com. However, if your business name is already taken, you could also look for ways to shorten your name and still honor your brand, like turning Andy’s Home Repairs into AHR.com or using handp.com if your company is named Hannity and Palamos.
Trademark Your Logo
If you have a great new business idea, expect others to try to latch onto it, selling similar products and sometimes even using a similar name. To help your customers identify you from your knock-off competitors is to trademark your logo so that it can’t be used by anyone other than you.
Within the U.S., the trademark process involves designing your logo, filling out the application and paying the application fee, and working with an assigned examining attorney to ensure that your submission is legal and complete. Other countries have different processes, so if you live in another region, check with your local government to learn the exact requirements and steps.
Patent your proprietary data or products
If your startup involves selling a unique product or service that you invented or the use of some type of proprietary information, you can also protect your brand by getting a patent on it. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) explains that a patent “is the grant of a property right to the inventor” and most patents are good for 20 years.
Admittedly, this can be a lengthy and somewhat costly process. However, it may be worth it if it keeps your competitors from developing their own products and services using your ideas.
Set up Google alerts
A super-easy way to keep track of what others are saying about your brand is to set up a Google Alert. Once you do this, you’ll receive a notification any time your company is mentioned online.
This helps you stay on top of what your consumers think about working with you by leading you to online reviews or social media posts that talk about your startup. It also helps you quickly identify someone who may potentially be trying to pass themselves off as a representative of your brand, enabling you to shut them down before they do any damage to your reputation.
When you are building a new company, protecting your brand helps you retain greater control over how your consumers view you. Follow these four suggestions and you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.