LaunchHER Law :: A Brand With A Plan

LaunchHER says :: Last Wednesday, LaunchHER’s own small-business attorney, Kara Jensen Zitnick, Esq, shared with us an incredible post entitled Trademark for the Indiepreneur. We are now THRILLED to offer the second in her series.  Stay tuned for more regular articles, geared specifically toward the entrepreneur!

A Brand With A Plan
Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.
Twitter :: @JensenZitnickPA
The material contained herein is meant as general information only and should not be taken as legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of merely reading this article.  Should you require legal assistance, you may inquire further via email at 
In my post last week, Trademark for the Indiepreneur, I shared with you important considerations when naming your business and introduced the basics of trademarks to you.  Today I’m going to pull back a bit and talk big picture when it comes to your Intellectual Property (IP).
A Brand
Your brand can consist of a variety of components:  the business name, the logo, colors, font, a “look” and “feel,” all of which work together to form your brand’s identity. 
The term “brand” isn’t limited just to a business with tangible products. The “brand” could be YOU.  If you are a consultant, YOU are your brand.  The “brand” could also be a blog.  Perhaps you don’t sell a thing, and you aren’t a consultant, but you’ve created a pretty spiffy little blog, posting regular writings that garner quite a bit of traffic, comments, and reposts. 
In each of these three scenarios, you have created a brand.  And you’ve put yourself out there with a domain name, website, name and logo.  And you’ve worked darn hard just to get to the point of having an on-line presence. But as you were burning the midnight oil getting your name out there, you forgot one crucial consideration:  how will you protect your brand?
A Plan
So often it is easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day workings of your business.  Especially if you are just starting out, you are the CEO and chief bottle washer, and everything in between.  In order to keep everything running smoothly, I’m sure you’ve devised plans, procedures and strategies:  steps that guide you in handling the nitty gritty of running business.  From strategies to expand or improve your current product offers, to procedures for customer inquiries, you’ve got it all.  Except, ,maybe, a plan that not only protects your brand, but includes brand cohesiveness.
A Strategy for Brand Protection
In order to make your branding and your IP work for you, you need a strategy for brand protection and cohesiveness.  So where to begin?  You need to step back and take a look at anything that identifies you, your business, your product – the intangibles. Intangibles that are unique to you are the core of your IP and your brand and can include the obvious (business name and logo), but don’t overlook trademarks, domain name, trade secrets or written materials.  All need to be protected.
After you have identified the intangibles, rank them in order of importance to your business. This will give you a clear picture of where your brand protection efforts should be concentrated.
By identifying your own valuable intangibles, you are taking the first step toward brand protection and cohesiveness. 
What’s the Point?
And, why should I care? is probably what you are thinking.  It’s quite simple:  one of the best ways to garner value for your business in the early stages is using IP law (trademark, copyright, etc) to protect your creative work as soon as you reveal it to the world.  Ideally, before you issue the first press release, open up the merchant account, tweet your first tweet, or announce your presence to the world.
In the event you’ve already issued the press release, your merchant account is on fire and your number of twitter followers grows each day, your next smart business decision should be to make a plan for your brand.
If you know you need a plan and a strategy for brand protection, but don’t know where to start, I offer flat-fee IP/brand assessments specifically for indie businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  You may contact me at for further inquiry.
©2010 Kara J. Jensen Zitnick, Esq. All rights reserved
No part may be copied or reproduced with express written permission from the author.
Jensen Zitnick, P.A.

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