|Coca Cola Brandng|
7 Aug 2016
Branding is defined by the British Brands Group as "the means whereby companies strive to create and build strong brands".
That begs the question: "What is a brand?". The answer offered by that Group is:the sum of a consumer or user's knowledge and understanding of a product, service or company, and provides the means for exercising choice and preference (see What is a brand? British Brand Group website). It also offers the definition proposed by Westminster Business School:
"... a reputational asset which has been developed over time so as to embrace a set of values and attributes, resulting in a powerfully held set of beliefs by the consumer and a range of other stakeholders."
In What is a Brand, Anyway? 21 Dec 2011 Forbes, Jerry McLaughlin offers two definitions, The first is "the name given to a product or service from a specific source". He acknowledges that this is pretty much the same as a trade mark and adds:
"In the first sense of the word, then, a brand is simply the non-generic name for a product that tells us the source of the product. A Coke is a fizzy caramel-colored soda concocted by those folks in Atlanta."
However, he offers another definition that is similar to that of the British Brands Group:
"Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind."
That connotes two concepts: the sign that identifies the product, service or business otherwise known as the trade mark, and the supplier's communication with his market through customer service, market research, feedback and so forth. Both require investment and businesses' investment in both is protected in the UK.
Investment in creating and projecting the sign through advertising and other types of marketing is safeguarded by the registration of the sign as a trade mark. Registration confers the exclusive right to use the same or similar sign in respect of the same or similar goods in the territory for which the mark and goods or services are registered. At present, that can be the UK or for as long as we remain in the European Union all 28 member states of that Union including the UK. Businesses can also rely on the common law (that is to say, judge-made) action for passing off that prevents one business from tricking customers into doing business with it by using a name, mark or get-up that is the same or similar to that of its competitor.
Investment in market research data, customer complaints or other feedback is protected by the law of confidence (as such information is likely to be confidential) and database right as it is likely to be held on computers.
This is a very rough overview of the laws relating to branding and if anyone wants to discuss this page he or she should get in touch with me through my contact form. He or she can also give me a ring during office hours on +44 (0) 20 7404 5252.