Do These Three Steps Before Establishing Your Business Brand Identity
Branding allows you to build relationships with your customers by giving them something to relate to beyond the product or service they’re purchasing. Before solidifying your brand identity, do the research to avoid infringing on another business’s brand.
August 09, 2023
There are countless things to consider when starting a business. Which structure should I pick? Where do I find suppliers? How do I secure financing? Those are all very important, and often daunting, questions to answer while planning out your business concept and operations.
For many, the fun and lighter side of business planning is all about the brand. What should I name my business? How should I design my logo? Which colors should I use? Branding gives your business a distinct identity… at least that is what you hope.
Before finalizing your business name and logo, it is important to conduct research to ensure they are not already in use. Doing your due diligence when deciding on a name can help you avoid future (and often costly) issues. For example, if you use a name without properly researching it, you may be forced to rebrand and update all marketing and branded materials including the domain name, business cards, uniforms, and much more. Here are three easy ways to check if your business name idea is available.
- Start with Google. It’s free and easy!
- Next, check the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Trademark Electronic Search System. Searches are free and the portal is relatively easy to navigate. You can check if any trademark in the U.S. has already been registered or applied for that is: 1) Similar to your business name and logo concepts, 2) Used on related products or for related services, and 3) is Live (currently in use). A trademark that meets all three criteria will prevent you from registering your trademark because it creates a likelihood of confusion.
- Finally, check the Texas Secretary of State (SOS) SOSDirect Each search costs $1 plus a credit card processing fee and requires you to register for an SOSDirect account. Also, something to keep in mind, some users may find the portal tricky to navigate. The search results will only include entities registered to conduct business in Texas (Limited Liability Companies (LLC), Corporations, Foreign Entities (businesses formed and headquartered in another state but transact in Texas), Assumed Names, and Texas-only Trademarks) that are registered with the SOS that exactly match and/or are similar to the business name you are considering. If there is another organization using the same name that you wish to use, and you file with the Texas SOS, your application will be rejected.
“Business Tips” was written by Angelina Osornio Torres, Certified Business Advisor of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.