Monday, February 22, 2016

How Strong is Your Trademark Name?



I consider myself very lucky to get to collaborate and network with smart women business owners. We all help each other become sharper and able to solve problems for each other and our clients. One of my smart women friends is Angie Avard Turner, an attorney specializing in business law for creatives. Here's what she had to say recently on her blog. Enjoy and learn!


"Above All Else Be Distinct"


We see lots of information about branding and how to create a brand that sticks.  All of that information is vital when beginning a company.  Quite frankly, many times we go and create the products and the goodies before we've even given the first thought of "the brand."  A little backwards.  What is even more backwards is when we think through the brand and the products and goodies, but do not think through whether this name is already being used; whether there are other products that have similar names that customers might confuse with mine; or whether the name is distinctive.

Whether a name or mark is distinctive is one of the ultimate questions in trademark law.  Distinctive is an adjective that gets used relatively often in the English language, however in legal speak, there is a specific meaning. As you may already know, trademarks  are words, names, symbols and other items that distinguish and identify the sources of goods or services. Unfortunately, not all trademarks are created equal.  Whether a trademark is distinctive will affect whether it receives protection and to what degree.

In the realm of trademark law there is this phenom called the spectrum of distinctiveness.  The spectrum demonstrates the range of distinctiveness from least to greatest.  Obviously those marks that are the least distinctive will receive little to no protection, while those that are most distinctive will receive the most protection.  Trademarks are like SAT problems if you think figuring it out was "too easy," then you are probably missing something and most likely got it wrong.  There is an art to naming a business; it is not an exact science.  If it were, we would not have all the court proceeding and litigation that we do!
So the question is, look at your mark, your brand, where does your mark fit in the spectrum? Are you distinct?


Friday, February 5, 2016

10 Ways to Gain Trust


I don't know of any other single factor in life or business that is more important than trust. I recently had a conversation on this topic with my nephew. He is experiencing "feel good moments" due to interactions with people who trust him in business and personal transactions. He's young and is seeing the value.

Has the world changed to the point that trust is harder to find than ever?  I don't think so. I think it boils down to negative news from every direction. There are trustworthy people, and there are untrustworthy people. Always has been. Always will be.

All that really matters is this: In which category do you wish to be recognized and remembered?

Here are my tips, gained from years of experience, for gaining a reputation of trust:

  1. Listen carefully to what people have to say. 
  2. Never over- promise just to get the business.
  3. Think of the relationship before thinking of the business potential.
  4. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  5. Find out how you can help others, then do as much as you can.
  6. Do what you say you will do. Every time.
  7. If you screw up, admit it and apologize. Make it up to the person whether you got the business or not.
  8. Always, always be thankful and show it.
  9. Be genuine. If you aren't, it will show.
  10. Be a positive spirit and influence. You never know when someone you encounter needs it and remembers it.