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You are likely familiar with the words ‘jacuzzi’ ‘band-aid’ and ‘ping pong’. But, did you know that these are not these items’ original names? Instead, they were developed to build brand recognition. It is now common to associate a jacuzzi with a hot tub, a band-aid with an adhesive bandage and ping pong with table tennis. Similarly, the Nike tick and the back to back intersecting Cs in the Chanel logo conjure instant brand recognition. These are all examples of brand equity. This article sets out how you can develop, protect and exploit your own brand equity. 

What Does Brand Equity Actually Mean?

Put simply, brand equity refers to brand value. This is how well the average consumer perceives and responds to your brand. To have brand equity is to have a brand that: 

  • is recognised in the market;
  • attracts consumers; and 
  • is of value to the business it represents. 

Strong brand equity can result in your brand name being used to refer to an entire category of goods, like in the examples above. It may also allow you to price your products at a premium as a result of strong customer loyalty. Your brand can become an essential asset of your business.

How to Develop Your Brand Equity

Developing your brand can feel like an uphill battle when you are just starting out. However, you should think of it as an investment, rather than an expense. Making your customer experience as positive as possible now can return huge dividends in the long run. After a while of continued use and enjoyment of your brand, consumers will recommend your products to others. They will also be willing to try any other products you bring out under your brand name. Sooner or later, you will have a loyal customer base.

Positive Brand Equity

Having positive brand equity should be your goal. When customers think of your brand highly, it can add significant value to your business. 

Some ways in which you can start developing positive brand equity are by:

  • making sure you are offering a quality product or superior service; 
  • considering how best to market your brand; and
  • protecting your memorable name or logo with a trade mark.

Protecting Your Brand Equity

When you develop positive brand equity and people associate your brand as offering a higher quality product, protecting your brand equity is essential. The best way to achieve this is through registering a trade mark for your business name, logo, slogan and anything else that allows consumers to recognise your brand. Having a trade mark is attractive and can make you look professional in the eyes of consumers and competitors. 

If you have developed a strong business name and designed a distinctive logo, the best practice is to trademark both your name and your logo. You want to protect your brand in whatever way you present it to consumers. 

A trade mark gives you an exclusive right to use your mark in connection with the type of goods and services you provide in Australia. It is a legally enforceable right and entitles you to stop competitors from exploiting your trade mark for their benefit. It allows you to capitalise on the equity you have built up with your brand, associated with the mark, without fear of others taking advantage of your hard work. 

Registering an ABN for your business name does not offer brand protection. Having an ABN simply allows you to: 

  • operate a business; and 
  • register with the Australian Taxation Office. 

Having a trade mark, on the other hand, gives you exclusive rights to that name. Having an ABN is not enough if you do not want others to copy you and your brand. 

Once you have lodged your trade mark application, you can start using the ™ symbol to alert competitors that you have a pending trade mark application on foot. 

Exploiting Your Brand

Once you develop your brand equity, you can use it to your advantage in many ways.

For example, you may choose to:

  • use your brand as an umbrella brand to create sub-brands; or
  • licence your brand to others for a fee. 

Key Takeaways 

Your brand can be one of the most valuable assets your business may hold. Developing your brand and how consumers will distinguish your goods or services from others has the potential to lend to rapid brand awareness, appreciation and customer loyalty. Protecting your brand equity is therefore essential. To learn more about how best to protect your brand and exploit it to your benefit, contact LegalVision’s IP lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is brand equity?

Brand equity is brand value. It relates to how well the average consumer perceives and responds to your brand.

Does registering an ABN protect my business name?

Registering an ABN for your business name does not offer brand protection. To protect your brand, you should register a trade mark.

How can I protect my brand?

Your brand is an important business asset. To protect it, you should register trade marks for all distinctive words, signs, logos and slogans that make up your brand.

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