Brands can be a very powerful and important asset for any organisation. Take this well known quote from a Coca-Cola executive for example: "If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business."
A brand is essentially comprised of the associations people make and perceptions that they have of a product, service or organisation. The aim of a brand owner is create a strong and trusted brand that has the power to influence behaviour. For example, a well-known charity with a strong corporate identity can differentiate itself from other charities with similar goals and focuses, and as a result will hope to encourage more donations and fundraising efforts.
Most brands will be protected by an underlying trade mark. Trade marks can consist of words, names, logos, even colours, and are used to distinguish goods or services from those of others. The owner of a registered trade mark has a monopoly right to use that trade mark in relation to the goods and services for which it is registered, and can prevent others from using the same or similar trade mark for the same or similar goods and services, making it an important asset.
Depending on the type of charity, there are also other types of protection for intellectual property that can be relied on. Copyright, for example, arises automatically in any original "works" created eg, marketing materials and literature, or software source code. Rights in designs can also be protected, with a new bill having just been introduced in parliament updating the ownership rules relating to designs. Finally, there is also the possibility of applying for patents in respect of new inventions. These are all important tools for advancing and protecting the reputation of a charity, and most importantly of all keeping it in the public eye.