Trademarks & Servicemarks: Build an Effective Financial Brand

In our previous blog post Trademarks: It’s time to protect your financial brand, we discussed what a trademark is and the need for brand protection.  A “servicemark” is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms “trademark” and “mark” are commonly used to refer to both trademarks and “servicemarks.” * So when we say trademark (™) it could be an SM as well.

Many companies fall short when thinking through the opportunities to distinguish themselves from their competitors, especially when it comes to the use of trademarks and servivcemarks. If trademarks are pursued, they are usually restricted to company or product names. However, there are additional opportunities for creating distinct marks, including:

  • Logos and taglines
  • Product families or service lines
  • Product features
  • Customer groups, conferences or communications

We often see banking or mortgage service companies fall short of implementing an effective trademark strategy. Sometimes, how a company delivers its services is more important than what they actually deliver. Developing a highly defined process and set of systems for service delivery is critical for creating differentiation, especially against lower cost competitors. Developing marks for these processes and systems, especially when they contain proprietary elements, can go a long way toward establishing a premium position within your financial sector.

Few companies have the resources necessary to build multiple brands within the markets they serve. Mortgage and banking companies need to understand their resources and make wise investment decisions when it comes to developing trade names for products and services. The strategy that often yields that highest return is to create a unified and integrated set of trade and servicemarks that collectively reinforces the company’s overall brand.


* From the US Patent and Trademark’s website

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