Much before Vodafone acquired Hutch in India, it was well recognized and famous for its girl and dog antics apart from the services it provided. Be it their “happy to help” or “wherever you go” taglines, people could be found humming to their song “you and I in this beautiful world”across the streets. But after Hutch became Vodafone they brought a new character called zoo-zoo, which not only sent the girl and dog into oblivion but also brought a revolution that wrote many success stories, won many awards and provided enough fodder and insight vodafones market research and brand development. Now it is a familiar sight to be seen – people sporting zoo-zoo t-shirt with elan and holding zoo-zoo key chains with gusto. Zoo-zoo as a trademark has established Vodafone as a brand on a firmer footing in such a short span of time. In a layman’s language trademark can be vaguely understood as a mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from others. Cambridge advanced learner’s dictionary defines trademark as “a name or a symbol which is put on a product to show that it is made by a particular producer and which cannot be legally used by other producers”. It can be anything, for example a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, colour, smell, sound, or a combination of these elements. The basic and primary purpose of a trademark is to facilitate an identity to a product or service so that customer can recognize and distinguish it from others. It also helps in preventing the public from being misled as to the quality of a product or a service and serve as an incentive to consistently provide quality products or services in order to maintain their brand reputation. So the trademark acts as a tool to communicate about their brand to the masses.
Today the world finds itself totally in the grip of globalization. The big corporate houses are opening their branches across all continents and nationalities. The world has shrunk into a global village where everyone and everything is interconnected. News in the US media about its economic depression triggers the collapse of Bombay stock exchange. Rise and fall of multinational brands is a day to day phenomenon and a present day reality. Impunity has become a thing of the past in such global market scenario. Right communication is the catchphrase in dealing with socially and culturally diverse markets. It is not easy in such a milieu to establish a brand as brand development can be tricky and challenging. Choosing a well thought strategy on the basis of proper data and research is the way to go about it. Selection of the proper trademark is an invaluable ingredient in success of any brand because it doubles up as the face to a brand. For example, Nike is synonymous with its trademark logo”swoosh”worldwide. Whenever you hear the word Nike, the image of it automatically comes to the mind.
Any brand needs to understand the demand of time and situation to remain competent in the market. Evolving policies which are apropos to the market and seeking appropriate changes are the craft of maintaining and developing a successful brand. Pepsi and coca cola both have changed their trademark logos several times since their inception two centuries ago. And today they are reckoned as the heavy weight in the industry of brand management and brand development. Whereas some brand thrived, some failed to read the pulse of time.
Nirma is a classic example in this case. Think of Nirma and the picture of a little girl twirling around in her white frock with the familiar jingle “washing powder
Nirma“comes to mind. Once, among the most recognizable Indian brands which replaced surf as a household name then and became one of the widely discussed case studies across oceans, failed to sustain its own success. Though they tried to reinvent themselves, enough time passed at the crossroad before they understood that a brand has to constantly refresh its communication. Liril also met with the same fate. So in such a market framework where out of sync concepts and ideas can prove fatal to a brand without giving any recovery time, trademark shoulders a multi-dimensional role which goes beyond the name,symbol or logo.
It is not just a distinctive sign via which a brand is identified and recognized in the marketplace but a good and unique trademark adds to a brand’s value and makes it stand apart from competitors. Customer instantly recognizes a good trademark and relate to it quickly in accordance to things
such as quality, brand, service and its benefits. For example, whenever you see a three sided star logo of Mercedes, you associate it with class, integrity and personality. Images of precision and luxury automatically snap in your head. It attracts and retains customer loyalty and increases the value of its brand. And that’s the power of trademark in development of a brand. People associate themselves with the brand. Plus, trademark provides their owner with the legal right to use it for their own business and company. It means others don’t have the right to use a similar mark. And in case a similar mark is used by others, it can be termed illegal. So, in a more apt terminology, a trademark can be defined as a legal concept whereas brand as a marketing concept. Even in tough economic times, trademarks strongly influence purchasing behavior as a consumer makes more careful decision, often reverting to “tried and trusted” brand. So in good times trademark makes sound business sense.
The industries can further capitalize on a trademark using it as an asset and propagate the development of a brand through licensing, where owner retains ownership and agrees to the use of the trademark by other company in exchange of royalties. Also in awarding franchising rights, they share their “know-how”along with their trademark. Trademark effectively spread and develop their brand globally and emerge as brand leaders today.
The companies like McDonald’s, Nokia etc. have used their trademarks effectively to spread and develop their brand globally and brand Trademark is regarded leaders today Where some trademarks have become generic like Xerox for photocopier and coke for soft drinks, some are busy reinventing themselves. Videocon has recently changed their trademark. So have Canara bank and UTI bank. So the market is in constant flux to create a distinct commercial impression in minds of consumer via trademarks and retain their loyalty. And it only looks fair in the chequered game of brand development.