Without question, trademarks are valuable business assets, and in some cases, they are worth billions. Forbes media publishes an annual list of the 100 most valuable trademarks. In the 2020 list, Apple had the most valuable brand (which includes all of its various trademarks) calculated to be worth a whopping $241.2 billion and contributing $260.2 billion to Apple’s annual revenue. To top five are all tech or internet-based trademark brands (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook). Samsung comes in at number seven and more traditional retailers and businesses round out the top ten: Coca-cola, Disney, Louis Vuitton, and McDonald’s. A list like this is a good annual reminder that EVERY business should have trademark and brand strategies. A “brand” can be seen as consistently-used and interlinked trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property. Trademarks and brands create and nurture customer loyalty and cement market share and create easier paths to enter new markets channels and offer new products.
One of the most interesting facets of famous and valuable trademarks is how they are used online. Indeed, in this internet age, one can argue that how a trademark is used online is precisely how a trademark can become worth billions of dollars. For smaller businesses and younger, less famous trademarks, many lessons can be gleaned. Here are some of the ways in famous trademarks are used online
Trademarks as Domain Names
This is a bit obvious, but it is still worth highlighting. Every business with a valuable trademark should be using the trademark as an internet domain name. The famous and valuable brands to this and, importantly, rigorously police domain name registrations to prevent cybersquatting. This is particularly important for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton.
Trademark as #Hashtag
Top brands also have developed successful strategies for using their trademarks in Twitter #hashtags. Sometimes #hashtags are business-related, like #Applesupport (for Apple’s customer support department) or #appleiphone or #appleapps or #applemusic. Other times, the #hashtag is meant to convey a broader message like #appleiscool.
Consistent and Constant Trademark Use
All of the top trademarks have strong strategies for consistent and constant use of their trademarks online. All websites and webpages contain repetitive use and consistent use of trademarks. These online strategies are dovetailed with how the trademarks are used for tangible products and in physical stores.
Over the last decade, many of the top trademarks have turned to using online influencers to drive sales. This is a modern variant of using a Hollywood or sports celebrity to make a brand or product seem exciting and “in.” Louis Vuitton is a good example here. In 2019, the company launched a new Pont Neuf handbag. The company hired various influencers like Chau Bui, based in Vietnam with a wide online following in Asia. See media report here.
Fun and Engaging Online Content
Aside from partnering with influencers, top trademark brands also use clever and fun online content via blogs, videos, podcasts and similar to engage with current and potential consumers. Coca-cola has been doing this for years with its advertising campaigns. Examples include its annual Christmas campaigns involving Santa and the ones featuring polar bears. Coca-cola has extended this sort of marketing to its online presence. The idea is to be clever, fun, and relatable, particularly to younger audiences
Varying a Trademark to Signal Alliance
In our computer age, trademarks are virtual which makes them elastic. Yes, trademarks are also rendered into physical forms and attached to physical objects. But, as are used online, they are virtual. This allows trademarks to be manipulated and temporarily changed. Many of the top brands use this trademark “elasticity” to signal alliance with social justice causes. If you have questions about trademarks or service marks, need help creating and registering a trademark/service mark or if you are facing trademark/service mark litigation, contact the proven trademark litigators at Revision Legal at 231-714-0100.