Why are the logos of companies like Starbucks, MacDonalds and Coca-cola immediately recognisable world-wide? Some brands are are evoked by just a colour or shape. Think of Cadburys purple, the Apple silhouette, Orange telecom, the Nike tick.

Like theirs, your logo must be consistent and memorable across all media platforms. The most powerful logos are simple with little or no text yet still clear even if they are very small or seen from a distance.

How do you make your brand image represent the ethos and core values of your business? Colours can have strong associations, for example, red for excitement and danger, green for the environment.

Obtaining a trademark is straightforward and inexpensive if you do the right preparation. It is vital to perform due diligence throughout the process of developing your brand. A logo is part of the intellectual property of a business and is of great value to that business as it grows. Check on ipo.gov.uk for existing marks and text and do not steal photos from other businesses. Look through Google images and stock logo websites to avoid using stale designs. Be aware that the trademark text cannot be descriptive of your product or service.

It is easiest to trademark a made up meaningless name. Short words with hard consonants are easiest to say and therefore most powerful e.g. Kit-kat. But do check the word doesn’t have a meaning in another language. Rolls-Royce famously launched the Silver Mist without realising that ‘mist’  means ‘crap’ in German!

Make it easy for your customers to distinguish you from your competitors. This means examining the strengths and weaknesses of the competition then building or taking advantage of them. Do they have a clear ethos and niche market? Use the information to provoke thinking about your own business.

Always present a consistent and positive personal brand across all the social media channels, Experts advise not to tweet or post if you are tired stressed or otherwise not clear-headed. Ensure that any employees or contractors managing your social media accounts are fully aware of your values and are given written guidelines which clearly set out the boundaries for acceptable content. It’s all about trust. Remember, anything released onto the Wild Wild Web can never be fully deleted and big brands have failed when their brands have become tarnished by an ill-advised comment becoming public or they have misled their customers.

If false information is broadcast, then inform the major search engines like Google since it is through them that most people access relevant websites. They have procedures for removing links to incorrect information. However, they are slow and complex and your business can incur a lot of damage in the meantime. It is better and faster to produce your own, highly SEO relevant, positive web pages and wait for them to be indexed, swamping the bad news. Alternatively, there are businesses which will perform this service for you.

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