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How vulnerable are Aussie brands?

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Your brand is the first thing your customers recognise you for, and the last thing they remember.

Redchip hosted a gathering recently (as it turns out, the same night Trump became president elect!) to share our ideas about an important conversation we believe business advisers should be having with their clients.


Our guests were designers and developers, all of whom are creating brand identities and assets that are helping build business value.

Why were these folks happy to come to meet with a bunch of lawyers – apart from our (in)famous beer tap?  They came because they know business owners are burying their heads in the sand, or ignoring or otherwise deferring the issue of brand protection for another time.

Why should business owners be thinking about mechanisms to protect their brands? Because 90% of the value of their business attaches to their brand, and they are doing business in a connected world in which traditional borders and barriers no longer exist.

In my view, the advisers and consultants who work with business owners to commercialise brands are the vanguard. They are out front, creating, building and invigorating brands. As such, we are keen to see them invested in the conversation with clients about the value and significance of the assets they are developing.

Is technology evolving or diluting brands?

Redchip has operated in the technology and intellectual property arenas for more than 20 years, and over time we’ve seen many changes in the way business operates. There’s no secret the pace is gaining momentum and speed. You might recall when domain names became very significant for a period of time, with many pundits suggesting trade marks would lose their importance entirely in an expanding, digitally connected world.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Brands are more significant than ever because of the potential to reach beyond local and national markets. Your brand is the first thing customers will recognise you for, and the last thing they will remember.

Brands in a borderless world

Given the flattening of our world and the connection of companies to customers regardless of where they are living, any business idea can be as local or as global as the owner’s vision.

That means businesses are operating in a much larger environment, physically and virtually, than ever before, and a trade mark is often the only thing protecting them from infringing on someone else’s brand or having a competitor barge in on their market.

This connected world without traditional borders is creating opportunities for business owners, as well as making the job of due diligence much simpler given the ease of digital image and name searches. A concept and name search at the very start of a new venture is a no-brainer.

The impact of technology change on business, and the open digital market in which we do business, create risk and vulnerability that weren’t previously an issue. Companies can’t hide, no matter how small and local they believe they are.

Designers and developers are, in many cases, the custodians for their clients’ brands and responsible for helping ensure that the value being built into them is protected.

Markers of a healthy trade mark economy

Some final observations I shared during our event, highlighting why Redchip is encouraging this conversation, are:

  • Our clients are creating, from the get go, national and global businesses. This would have seemed incredibly audacious just five years ago. These days business owners know they can access larger markets and customer bases.
  • Businesses are easy to find and locate – this is good for sales, but makes them vulnerable to infringement of or by other brands.
  • We’re seeing common mistakes around business and domain name registrations, and the value attributed to them. Let’s be straight, they are valueless in this conversation.
  • There is a perception that trade marking is only for big business. Not true – the process is straightforward and not overly costly.
  • We know that advisers, designers and developers can lock value and protection into great brands through the simple and relatively inexpensive process of filing a trade mark.

We used the recent event to launch our white paper, Protecting Brands in a Borderless World. You can access a copy at whitepapers.redchip.com.au. Simply register your details to access the paper.

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