Guide to Crafting a Trademark Strategy like Kim Kardashian: A Lesson for Small Businesses
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Love them or hate them, but you can’t deny that the Kardashians possess business acumen in spades. That’s why crafting a trademark strategy like Kim Kardashian’s is a valuable lesson for small businesses everywhere.
The family became famous for glamor and controversy through their iconic reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Along the way, they successfully created a distinct brand voice. They have a loyal target audience. And they built a booming business empire from scratch, always staying one step ahead.
And an astute trademark strategy has been a vital pillar of this growth. So here’s our guide to crafting a trademark strategy like Kim Kardashian.
What is the Kardashians’ trademark strategy?
The family is steered by strategic “momager” Kris Jenner, who also holds the trademark for the word. Between them, they hold nearly 800 trademarks. This has also helped each of them create a very popular personal brand.
And Kim Kardashian is following the family tradition started by Kris Jenner. She recently filed four trademark applications for skincare and toy product lines for her daughter North. This has set off a wave of speculation and debate about her children making their business debut.
And don’t think she’s playing favorites. In 2022, she got nine new trademarks for her children Chicago and Saint and 12 for 3-year-old Psalm. These span categories from vitamins and car seats to jewelry, books, bags, furniture, apparel, and entertainment brands.
Sisters Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian have also followed suit and trademarked some of their children’s names.
Considering Kim Kardashian is currently worth a staggering $1.4 billion, she really understands the value of a personal brand. She’s one of the most famous women in the world.
And her family’s brand and marketing strategy has trademarking at the heart of it. Here are some lessons business owners can learn from the celebrity billionaire:
1. Select a unique name for your business
When you set up your business and start building a brand, consider what to name it. All your plans could come to a grinding halt if the name is too generic to trademark. For example, Donald Trump’s “Truth Social” trademark was rejected for being too generic.
Kim Kardashian and her ex-husband Kanye West have both built powerful personal brands. Their children will benefit from these as well as their own unique names. Each one can turn into a personal brand in the future.
The trademarks they now hold will ensure they can venture into multiple markets within the US. Across categories, they can use the fame and power of their names without any disputes.
Similarly, a unique name for your business, product, and brand gives it an edge over competitors. Do thorough market research to understand what concepts and core values your potential customers relate to and choose a name accordingly.
If your customers feel connected to your brand, they will drive its success.
2. Plan ahead for growth and expansion from the beginning
It’s never too early to plan for the future and any other businesses you want to branch out to.
Kim Kardashian’s children may not launch all the businesses for which they hold trademarks just yet. But as of now, neither can anyone else.
Lack of such foresight can often lead to litigation over existing trademarks. It may also lead to changing names and diluting the brand equity of your later businesses. This can damage all your efforts to build trust through product quality and hurt your credibility in the market.
Note: Remember that if you file an ‘intent to use’ application, it won’t be officially registered to the USPTO until you begin using it. But you will get priority in the USPTO queue over competitors who file later.
3. Do your research to avoid disputes with existing trademarks
Even if you think you’ve landed on the perfect name for your brand, remember that someone else may have thought of it before. The Kardashian clan has learned this the hard way over the years. Kim courted much controversy while trying to trademark ‘Kimono’ (now SKIMS).
And Kylie Jenner lost the tussle over trademarking the name Kylie to Australian singer Kylie Minogue.
To avoid a similar fate for your trademark, research and find out through trademark search engines or the USPTO if your desired trademark is already in use or has been registered. If it has, evaluate how indispensable the name is.
We strongly suggest using a different name that communicates your brand values.
If you don’t want to change the name of your business, we recommend seeking legal assistance from a trademark attorney.
Trademark it like the Kardashians
Kim Kardashian and her family have mastered turning a simple idea into a great success. Building a brand, creating a content strategy for a mass audience leveraging social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and how to stay relevant are all valuable lessons to learn from the Kardashians.
But their intelligent trademarking strategy of preparing for the future and having a vision for possible opportunities may be the most relevant lesson for a small business with big ambitions.
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Amrusha is a versatile professional with over 12 years of experience in journalism, broadcast news production, and media consulting. Her impressive career includes collaborating extensively with prominent global enterprises. She garnered recognition for her exceptional work in producing acclaimed shows for Bloomberg, a renowned business news network. Notably, these shows have been incorporated into the esteemed curriculum of Harvard Business School. Amrusha's expertise also encompassed a 4-year tenure as a consultant at Omidyar Network, a leading global impact investing firm. In addition, she played a pivotal role in the launch and content strategy management of the startup Live History India.
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