It is generally accepted that what makes an asset valuable, whether it is a digital or physical one, or any type of intellectual property such as a patent, trade secret, trademark, copyright or design, is based on answers to questions such as
While there is information out there on valuation of intellectual property and business, the aim I have here is to consider how to add value to your business when you are embarking on business branding or new marketing campaigns. What does it take to create a strong IP that is more likely to endure long term?
Separating Branding and IP Protection
It’s important to take on board that using a silo approach does not give you the best outcome for your projects. Getting the best return on your investment involves treating brand or campaign creation and intellectual property protection in an integrated rather than a linear way, which tends to be the norm currently.
The way to get powerful IP is to think about intellectual property right at the beginning so you can be strategic about it. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to brand creation adds much more value to your business.
Most people equate intellectual property with patents, and this misconception gets in their way when it comes to using an inter-disciplinary approach in the creative process.
Misconceptions About IP
Intellectual property is about so much more than patents, and brands are about so much more than trademarks.
IP, as it relates to branding, enables protection of many aspects of a campaign or brand. For example, some of the elements that may be protected as valuable intellectual assets include:
As so many aspects of a campaign are protectable it follows that you should consider IP when you are about to create and plan a business, campaign or branding project. That is the way to ensure what is created will be ownable through trademarks, trade secrets or know-how, copyright, and designs.
Thinking about intellectual property in the middle of the creative process or at the end of the process is too late. It’s essential to consider IP strategically at the outset so you can create IP that is powerful, enduring, and more impactful and valuable.
In their book "Brand Rewired: Connecting Branding, Creativity, and Intellectual Property Strategy" the authors Anne Chasser, and Jennifer Wolfe address the gap between IP and branding.
Having conducted preliminary interviews with innovation leaders at some of the world’s biggest brands they tested their theory and discovered that forward-thinking companies are finding ways to intersect strategic thinking about IP with branding and innovation because this results in a greater long-term return on investment.
They found plenty of evidence that long-lasting intellectual property involves an interdisciplinary approach from the start.
How the World’s Top Brands Do Brand Creation
By understanding what it takes to create powerful and economically valuable intellectual property some of the world’s top brands get their brand and campaign creation done faster, and with fewer resources. This leads to reduced costs, and a greater likelihood of success for their projects.
When IP isn’t considered first, all too often, exorbitant amounts of money can be spent on researching, developing, creating and testing a product, a brand, or a campaign only to find out that it either can’t be used or isn’t of significantly greater value than what is already out there. Worse, it may result in a lawsuit from a third party. The result is a lot of money being spent without the ability to recapture it over a long enough period of time.
Given that considering IP first, at the beginning of the creative process, reduces costs and gives a greater return on investment the question is why agencies are not changing their methodology to incorporate IP in the early stages. I would love to know the answer to this.
Opportunity for Forward Thinking Service Providers
Given that the brand is potentially one of the most valuable intellectual property assets of a business, an asset that can be used as leverage in obtaining financing and an important part of the market value of the business, which affects stock prices, why would an agency not want to do its utmost to support its clients to create the most value?
It seems to me that there is a real opportunity for agencies that want to stand out to do so by incorporating IP strategically in their process. After all, one of the key characteristics that gives a brand more value is its strength as intellectual property, and an agency is generally engaged by founders and business leaders to improve their overall business performance.
At the small business end of the market, it’s not uncommon for founders and business leaders not to have a good grasp on what IP involves and entails. Many businesses will not have their own specialists on hand to help with IP strategy when it comes to brand or campaign creation. So, the agency can demonstrate leadership and appropriate concern for the client by incorporating IP into their process.
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