A BUSINESS begins by identifying the legal framework relevant to the objectives of your operations. A starting point is to follow the rules and regulations outlined by the authorities. The name of the business is a key requirement.
Naming a business is very important. Employees and customers derive importance from the name of the business. A name is interesting because it can be heard everywhere. Stakeholders heard some names without seeing any visual elements and logos.
A name goes beyond the logo. Naming must be verbally and visually appealing. By choosing a name, that is complemented by design aesthetic, becomes the foundation of a household brand name. It takes time for the name to grow.
Napoleon Hill said: “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”
Brand names continuously try and conduct activities to raise awareness in terms of recognition and recall. Stakeholders identify the logo and remember the name. When a business has a name, it is a separate entity. A name brings the brand to life.
Your brand name needs to have a registered trademark. The benefit of a trademark is that in business as your name gains more fame within your industry, there is enhanced differentiation from competitors. A trademark is a competitive advantage in your market. Customers search for names when they are shopping.
Consumer buying behaviour is 90% influenced by names. Trademark registration protects your business. You have the competitive advantage of applying your trademark to specific products and services. However, trademarks generally do not prevent competitors to offer the same products and services under a different name.
The more the products and services registered under a trademark, the more the competitive advantage. In the field of trademarks, more is more. Trademarks follow a maximalist approach. Balance the design elements and protection of intellectual property rights. For the design, a minimalist approach is suggested, and a maximalist approach is recommended for protection.
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The logo is minimalism, the trademark is maximalism. Registration in international markets allows brands to have unique positioning. International positioning in the local environment creates a strategic competitive advantage.
Adopting a trademark strategy transforms Zimbabwean brands easily into household Italian, French, Kenyan or global brands. Since time immemorial diplomacy formed part of trade between nations. In the modern context trademarks are a preferred diplomatic tool for trade.
Application of the trademark on various items is a necessary component to build a corporate identity. Putting your logo or trademark on a business card creates a flair of professionalism. Best practice, you hand out a business card it should not be intimidating leading to loss of business. Introduce a touch of the human element to give out a business card after there is rapport.
Technically every business transaction is initiated or closed with a business card. From vendors to large corporations that give you their details of the locations and products on their business cards. The customer experience is seamless when you have the contact details, knowing what to buy and who to call. A logo is the identity of a business. Businesses are recognised as brands by their identity. The secret to loyalty is for stakeholders to identify with the brand.
The logo reinforces identity and identity influences brand loyalty. The logo is artistic, and loyalty is scientific. Trademarks are the art and science of brands. There is a positive correlation of identification and loyalty. A group of people with a high sense of national identity are more loyal in comparison to a less invested group.
Countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, China, India, and the United States of America experience more loyalty subsequently domestic and international tourism is high, attributed to a well-defined identity that commands loyalty.
In Zimbabwe, the national fabric and other national branding initiatives are important to reinforce the Zimbabwean Identity and encourage loyalty and patriotism locally and within the diaspora community.
Good identity increases the probability of loyalty. Analysing relationships from a social identity theory point of view attribute loyalty to identity on an index.
From a socio-economic point of view the Zimbabwean currency needs an appropriate identity that will reflect loyalty and trust. Conducting a survey to reveal how the economy identifies with the currency. The more negative association there is with the currency, the less favourable it is to the masses.
The Zimbabwean currency needs more positive associations. Solutions begin by answering what is Zimbabwean’s association of the currency to their households. Vis-a-vis brands require a positive association with Zimbabwe. Brands must define their association with Zimbabwe.
Logos are good indicators of loyalty. Identity reveals loyalty. The secret behind a logo is the loyalty benefit. The way stakeholders identify logos signals the level of loyal behaviour. A logo is simultaneously the influence and behaviour of the business. For a business, the main branding objective is loyalty.
Bear in mind as you comply, your brand name and trade name need to be a match. It is compulsory for all business entities to be compliant with the rules and regulations of the territory. In the Zimbabwean context every business needs to comply with the tax and companies Acts. A name search initiates the process of registration under the companies and other businesses entities act.
After the business is registered a registration certificate is issued. There is follow up registration with Zimbabwe Revenue Authority for tax compliance, and a tax clearance is issued.
To participate in public procurement a business is required to comply by the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe. Compliance offers security in business and encourages other compliant businesses to trade with you.
Arguably the most important component for running a business is your structure. The structure of your business is the engine that drives you from the mission until you reach your vision. Departments shape structures. The marketing and human resources must always match the business tasks. All the human resources have a role to play in marketing the business.
Uniforms reinforce an identity. From t-shirts and corporate gifts given to customers and the employee dress code, this is a catalyst for loyalty. Unforms are the seeds of unity. Everything else must be uniform. When the results you receive are uniform and your service is uniform, that becomes a system. A uniform process increases productivity. Reproduction of a business is systematic; logos and trademarks follow the Madrid System which covers many continents.
Technically a business in good standing needs to be legally and financially viable. Your logo in general and trademark specifically gives you a legal advantage. Financially, there is higher customer retention and repeat business from brand loyalty. Logos and trademarks influence loyalty. Letterheads as a prerequisite for business letters have logos and trademarks.
A legal and financial combination of your trademark allows you to enforce your rights on every business transaction, either on an invoice or delivery note. The risk of credit facilitation and debt collection is reduced to an acceptably low level through a branded acknowledgement of debt and acknowledgement of payment.
- Chikwenhere is the founder of the Zimbabwe Brand Association.