Protecting Your CRE Brand Assets

By Amanda Bowen
Think brand protection doesn't apply to commercial real estate? Think again. When someone copies your brand elements, they dilute your message.

For property developers and service providers bent on creating brand experiences and stories, having someone create similar brand content risks negatively impacting your bottom line and building the wrong reputation. What steps can you take to prevent this?

Why protect the brand

In Real Estate Horizons: The Power of the Brand, there is a compelling case for real estate brands to protect their brand assets. More of what real estate professionals are doing revolves around experiential destinations, whether it’s as a retail center, a hotel, or a multi-family complex. Protecting your assets stops potential copying of brand names, trademarks, logos, and voices. It prevents people from misrepresenting the brands and their publications. Correct use increases brand recognition and your marketability. Cohesion is vital with your brand. You want someone to instantly recognize your brand and its values whether they’re flipping a tour book, visiting the website, or looking up the brand on social media.

What brand assets need protection

For starters, look at your logo, your names,and your taglines. Since you want your audience to associate certain emotions with your name and your visual identity, securing protection on these forward-facing assets is key.  As the article points out, real estate can be a crowded business. Going through the registration process is as much about protecting your trademark as it is making sure that yours is different from existing trademarks.

Other assets to consider would be customized code, websites, building plans, original photography, or AR / VR code.

Protecting your assets

There is a difference between registering trademarks and gaining a copyright protection.

A trademark is anything that would help the consumer tell the difference between one company's products and services and another's products and services. Think about the trademark differences between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Both brands are distinct enough that we can instantly tell the two apart.

Trademarks can cover words, phrases, symbols,and taglines. A common law trademark gives rights to its first use within a product category or geographic market. While you don't have to register the preferred trademark to start selling your services, you can formally registering your state or with United States Patent and Trademark office.

On the other hand, copyright covers original works of authorship. It is not going to protect your systems or your methods of operation. It will not protect things like your logo or your brand name. It could protect a published book, a white paper, and the original writing and artwork on your website. Note that a copyright does not protect the ideas contained within the pages.You can record a document for copyright here.

Covering your assets

When you're growing a company or launching anew brand, protection is often overlooked. Creating a strong brand is pivotal to your success, which should mean securing your assets is part of the package.Use trademark and copyright research during the brand building phase to make sure your brand assets are as distinct as your mission.

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