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Why Is Intellectual Property Important In Marketing?

Why Is Intellectual Property Important In Marketing?

To understand why intellectual property is important in marketing consider that marketing is about helping ideas to stand out and spread.

Its objective is to attract an audience to a company’s products or services. They should perceive value in them and consider purchasing the company's offerings.

Business is a competitive arena. In every category there's a surplus of businesses to buy from. Understanding buyers and positioning on something your ideal clients want is essential.

Therefore, we need to explore what buyers want and need. We must look at the competitive landscape. And we should become really clear about the alternatives to what we sell.

The job of marketing is to build awareness and attract leads. We do this by consistently communicating relevant messages.

To decide what messages to put out, we must first decide what we stand for and believe. And those beliefs need to resonate with our target customers. If we don’t clarify who we're addressing in our content we're unlikely to attract our ideal clients. 

Given all this, it's important to design a business correctly so we’re uniquely recognisable. This involves choosing a name and visual identity.

And that’s where IP is key. It’s how a business creates barriers to entry – a moat around itself. IP is essentially about managing competition.

There are two ways in which IP impacts a business’ identity. One involves making the right choices of name and identifiers. These need to be legally effective choices.

The other is about ensuring those choices don’t conflict with the IP rights of competitors because we don’t want to be confused with competitors. Otherwise, our business is less likely to become known in desired ways.

Get the brand identity right, and IP protects your distinctive brand assets. Get it wrong and you get lost in a sea of similar sounding businesses. Or you attract disputes from competitors whose branding you've unwittingly copied. That's why IP is important in marketing. 

If you think about it, everything we do in business gets our name known. Building brand awareness is the single most important task of marketing. And the brand becomes a valuable asset.

To stand out uniquely long term and avoid having our true value stolen or copied, involves correct use of IP. But despite the role of IP in managing competition it's not taught to marketers. MBA courses, entrepreneurship programs, marketing and design degrees. None of them include IP in the syllabus.

At most IP lawyers are invited into universities to give an hour or two of lectures to students. The focus of such talks is on what IP is, rather than on how it relates to marketing. Students would be better served if their courses included branding law as a core element.

If you have any insights into who designs university syllabuses, I’d love to hear from you. Let's change things for the better.