Why Distinctiveness?


Every brand starts out at zero. It’s not worth anything until customers start to associate your brand with your company in their brains. Getting those synapses to fire in the right way when your customer hears your brand name is called “good will” by intellectual property attorneys and accountants.

If you’re building brand value, then you’ll want to make sure that your customers can remember your brand. You need at least two things for that. The brand should be “sticky”, meaning memorable for some reason, and it should be distinctive, meaning its not easily confused with somebody else’s brand. I think of SPANX as an example of a brand that is both sticky and distinctive.

If your brand is sticky but not distinctive, you’re always going to have difficulty with confusion about whether the product or service is offered by you or that other similar brand. And this confusion can lead to long and expensive trademark lawsuits, when one of the two brands gets serious about defending its trademarks. I’m thinking of all the moose litigation initiated by Moosehead Breweries as an example of attempting to defend a sticky, but not particularly distinctive, brand for beer.

So, pick a brand that’s distinctive. It’s much easier to make a distinctive brand sticky than it is to make a sticky brand distinctive. But we’ll save that for another post.

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About the author 

Chris Paradies

Florida Bar certified intellectual property and U.S. patent attorney, founder of ParadiesĀ® law, chair of the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and certified coStarters facilitator. West Point graduate, entrepreneur, disruptor. Father, husband, faithful steward.

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