For many businesses, the most valuable asset is their brand. As such, it is important to put careful thought into choosing and protecting trademarks and designs that will identify you and your image in the eyes of your potential customers.
Select branding that aligns with the products and services of your company - and will continue to do so in the future. It is equally important to safeguard your intellectual property, or rights to that branding.
When initially selecting your brand, you will also want to ensure that your trademark is unique and not a descriptive or generic term, the latter which is more difficult and costly to protect from trademark infringement. Apple for electronics, for example, is a much stronger trademark than "Apple" would be for an orchard.
Once you have come up with a good brand for your company, it is important to conduct thorough research. In addition to having the branding properly reflect your company, you also want to make sure that it doesn't infringe on the intellectual property of someone else. Otherwise, you may spend thousands of dollars on branding only to be served with a cease and desist letter.
Before registering your trademark, have a plan in place for proper use of your brand. Put this in writing for reference both internally and to monitor its use externally. When you are ready to register your trademark, make sure to do so both in the United States and internationally. It also may be beneficial to enlist the help of a knowledgeable intellectual property lawyer to ensure registration is done correctly the first time.
And finally, a sustainable brand is one that is monitored and protected. Watch how your brand is portrayed in the media and marketplace. Most importantly, watch for any potential infringements on your trademark from other companies that may compromise the integrity of your brand.