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Part 2 – Slogans With Originality

Slogans with originality are an important part of sports branding. They permit you to communicate the brand message in ways that inspire and move people to action.

As you search for the right words for your slogan, become familiar with the brand. Understand brand goals and marketing objectives. Get a feel for the personality and character of the brand. At its essence, what does your brand stand for? Is there a key benefit that can be exploited because of its emotional appeal? What is the brand’s image and position in the marketplace? What is the brand’s promise and unique value proposition? This kind of knowledge sparks original ideas for great slogans. (For more information see my article about Inspirational Brand Slogans.)

Before becoming too attached to any particular slogan, find out if it is available. As an original work of intellectual property and mark of distinction, the brand slogan can be protected along with your sport marks. The process to research and register a slogan as a word mark in order to protect this asset is no different than registering a proprietary name and logo.

Make a good faith effort to choose something original and do your research to avoid confusion. If a slogan is highly desirable, someone else may have had a similar idea. You’ll want to know if a chosen word or phrase has been registered as a trademark. The cost of launching without checking availability can be expensive. You may be forced to “cease and desist” after your campaign is underway. Rather than leave it to chance, find out if the proposed slogan or something similar is already registered with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). An electronic search can be conducted at www.USPTO.gov. The absence of federal trademark registration does not mean the slogan is available. It could be in use but not yet registered as a trademark, or it might be registered at the state level.

For slogans not used on products and services in interstate commerce, state trademark registration might be all that is needed. The registration can be expanded later. For a listing of government state trademark registration sites check: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/State_Trademark_Links.jsp.

The next step in the research process involves electronic searches through Google, Bing, Yahoo, AltaVista and other popular search engines. Google Alert can be helpful as well. The purpose of these electronic searches is to determine if someone has first use. If so, they may have ownership interest under common law. From the perspective of brand slogan protection, trademark registration is beneficial. Within the United States, registration is not a requirement for ownership of intellectual property. This makes the research process more difficult.

When it comes to trademark protection, the class of trade in which the goods and services will be used in commerce matters for registration. Consider all of the classes in which the slogan might be used. Because sports properties attract a wide range of sponsors and licensees, check availability in the classes of trade in which your marketing partners are currently doing business. If they intend to use your new slogan on their products, packaging, merchandising, advertising, promotion or signage, it’s advisable to secure the rights in advance. (For more information see my three-part series about sports marks: Marks of Distinction, Creating Marks of Distinction and Registering Marks of Distinction.)

Will the slogan be used with a brand that is marketed internationally? If so, then international registrations may be needed as well. There is good information available on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov/trademarks/law/madrid/madridfaqs.jsp#q4 and also on the World Intellectual Property Organization site at www.wipo.int.

If the chosen slogan is original and not likely to cause confusion with an existing word mark within the same class of trade, try it out. In the United States, ownership interest in trademarks begins to accrue from the date of first use.

Use the new slogan to strengthen the sport mark and enhance brand image. Test its effectiveness within key market segments. Don’t invest heavily in marketing communications, promotion, merchandising or signage until results have been measured and the slogan proves to be influential. Measure it against business goals and marketing objectives. Does the slogan inspire people?

Slogans communicate brand messages with a few carefully chosen words. Creating an effective brand slogan inspires and moves people to take action. Inspirational word marks, particularly slogans with originality, are intellectual property assets worth protecting.


  © 2012 Anne Wall, All Rights Reserved.

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1 comment

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    I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again

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