7 Steps For Successful Brand Building

Lisa Wright,

Did you know that, depending on the size of your company and the life-stage it is at, building a new brand from scratch could cost you anywhere between USD $10,000 to USD $500,000? However, building a successful brand is not just a financial commitment, it can also require a large personal commitment of time and energy! 

Building a strong brand can be well worth the spend however. According to Nielson, 59% of consumers prefer to buy a new product from a familiar brand. Whether you decide to go it alone, or hire the services of a branding agency, building a successful new brand will typically involve at least seven concrete steps.

1. Find your purpose

The first step is to discover the purpose behind your brand. This is sometimes known as the golden circle concept - the what, how and why a consumer should buy from you.

2. Research your competition

Find out what your competition is doing well (and not so well). Check out the quality of their products or services, as well as their marketing and messaging - and customer testimonials and reviews for inspiration.

3. Identity your brand’s target audience

Determine who you are selling to. Be as specific as you can with your audience and create detailed customer personas for your goods or services.

4. Create your mission / vision statement

This is your purpose - the ‘why’ of your brand. Nike serve as a good example of an inclusive and clear mission statement, which instantly encapsules their purpose to an audience, to 

“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete * in the world. 

* If you have a body, you are an athlete”. 

5. Pick your trademark, logo or tagline 

Arguably the most significant part of brand building is establishing a robust trademark. And if a successful challenge or (if the mark is registered) an infringement claim is brought, it can require hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the mark you register is well-researched, strong and that the list of goods and services is properly defined depending on the territory. 

For example, if the country that you are filing your application in has accepted the Nice Classification, your application should cover the appropriate definitions accepted by Nice Class.

To achieve this, creating an effective trademark clearance search is imperative. This can be done in two ways, either manually or using a trademark service provider.

  • Manually 

A manual search involves brainstorming internally and externally (for example, with counsel or brand experts) and coming up with a list of potential candidates that require checking. Then laborious searches must be done through multiple sources - such as each territory's Trademark Offices separately - as well as search engines, company directories, social media platforms, app stores etc. Once all the relevant material is collected, manual filtering and analyzing must take place so the risk can be evaluated, and a final report compiled. 

This kind of final report is sometimes referred to as a “phone book report” due to the sheer weight and volume of its contents. The typical cost of this kind of search can be between USD $500 and USD $14,000 per search depending on the territory and the coverage of the listed goods and services.  

  • Using a trademark service 

Using smart products and AI can reduce both the weeks required to do a traditional “phone book” clearance search report for a new brand name down to 15 seconds and the spend down to less than USD $150! Employing an AI search helps you to reduce the time spent going back and forth with your list, as you can find a potential brand candidate faster. Getting the greenlight from a trademark attorney to start using your new trademark is then strongly recommended in both cases - whether you choose the manual or smart trademark clearance route. 

The first major search that must be conducted in any effective trademark clearance process is a preliminary knockout search.

Knockout search

A knockout search (sometimes referred to as a “quick and dirty search”) looks for the identical and semi identical, or where the intended denomination takes place in marks that are already filed by third parties. A knockout search can show you both registered and live marks (which includes those pending registration). Sometimes it is also helpful to be able to view invalid applications at this stage, so that you can understand why they are invalid for further investigation. 

TrademarkNow's Enhanced Knockout Search tool will search for your proposed mark through the USPTO plus your choice of five other registry databases. Furthermore, it explores and accounts for matches found on the Internet, in company registries, apps, and directories. Relevant international marks are also automatically included. Not only does a knockout search ensure that you do not invest in a mark that is already taken, but it can also highlight previously unknown competitors and assist you in your research of the competition.

After completing your knockout search, a full clearance search needs to be performed. This will provide the information you need to establish if your mark is clear to use and register.

Clearance search

We recommend that the results of any clearance search be greenlighted by an experienced trademark attorney who can help you interpret the results. In an AI clearance search, not only are you looking for exact matches to your proposed trademark, but also those that are similar in sight, sound, and connotation and which might create risk of confusion for the consumer with a third party’s trademark.

Furthermore, using an AI clearance search will enable comparison of not only the phonetic similarity of any word mark, but will also take into account the goods and services of a trademark, which is extremely important as they will determine the coverage of the trademark right. A clearance search will look for exact or similar matches in the same class that your product or service will be registered under, but also any other classes that cover related goods.

Effective searching

For a trademark search to be effective, you also need to ensure that the mark you wish to register does not have a negative connotation in another country. For example, the word 'mist' in German means 'manure'. And, the Spanish mineral water brand ‘Veri’ means ‘blood’ in Finnish!

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Not only can a trademark clearance search alert you to any potentially embarrassing or offensive words or pronunciation related to your proposed mark in the target territory, it will also show the level of brand strength and distinctiveness, to ensure your mark is not at risk of being rejected for lack of uniqueness.

Your final search results will be ranked and analyzed in order of threat by our AI and all reports can be downloaded and shared between stakeholders.  

Depending how much risk you want to take and depending on the time required to launch your new brand name, our platform enables its users to explore more. You can really drill down and search further into common law/industry data such as company names, domain and social media, search engines, trademark owner details, owner portfolio and oppositions, and much more! And the time needed to achieve the results and your customized report? Approximately 15 seconds!

The traditional “phone book” trademark clearance search is not only arduous and costly, it is prone to multiple human errors. Relying on an AI algorithm ensures your results are accurate, significantly mitigating your risk and protecting your investment. 

6. Build a brand story and consistent messaging

This part of your brand building goes way and above choosing a logo or tagline.  A brand story enables you to connect emotionally with your customers and inform them as to why they should buy from you.

7. Evolve your brand as your business grows

Building a new brand doesn’t end with the creation of a trademark or logo. Your brand needs to stay relevant and consistent wherever your customers interact with you - be it online or in-store. The theme and style that you select for your website, the marketing and sales support materials you produce should follow the same brand guide - and this branding should continue into the packaging and even into the shipment of your goods or the way in which you deliver your services.

Ready to start brand building? 

Use TrademarkNow’s artificial intelligence across your choice of ten country registries*, web and common law data, to safely find all similar trademarks to your new brand candidate with rank-ordered estimated risks.

Build your new brand with confidence and ease with our award-winning AI Clearance Search tool!

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*You choose from 176 country registries! And, trademarks of international organizations (WIPO, EUIPO and ARIPO) are also automatically included by us, in your bespoke search results. China (CN CNIPA) database is not offered via pay per search.