Corporate America has taught my kids to read. When they see the distinctive green Publix logo, they ask to go to Publix. And when they recognize the Panera girl holding a loaf of bread, they beg to eat at Panera for dinner. These companies’ branding efforts have taught my kids to associate a trademark with a product, even though they are too young to read the name of the company.
A strong trademark not only identifies a good or service, it evokes an emotion in the consumer. When my kids beg to go to Publix after seeing the Publix truck drive by, it is not because they want to help me with the grocery shopping. They want to go to Publix because they want the free cookies and balloons that Publix gives them. And they do not want to go to Panera to eat reasonably priced food that is good for their bodies. Nope, they just know that they can get yogurt and grilled cheese sandwiches at any Panera, anywhere, anytime. That is the power of branding. When you patronize a brand that you are familiar with, you know what to expect before you walk in the door. That brand recognition has real value. Even if your company is not a million dollar company, the potential benefit from successful branding is exactly why your business should create, develop, and protect its own trademark.
Kelly G. Swartz is an attorney and sole shareholder of Ingenuity Law in Melbourne, Florida. Her law practice focuses in the area of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights.