A business name is essential since it reflects the company’s brand. Later on, it becomes synonymous to the company’s reputation and how consumers look at your products and services. Nothing is more frustrating than to find out that a competitor chooses a name that is similar to yours – whether it is accidental or intentional. When this happens, it leads to confusion for your customers and sadly, this might affect your business as well as your reputation.
An example of this has happened with IdeaPros; in this article, we will explore this Mistaken Identity and how you can take action to ensure the same doesn’t happen to you.
Related Reading: Four Lawsuit Tips to Ensure Reduced Heartache
Here are some tips to protect your business from business name confusion.
- Trademark your product to protect your name
- Register your company name for a website
- Supplement a “trademark” sign beside your company name
- Keep an eye on your reviews
1. Trademark your product to protect your name.
You will have leverage with Google and other sites to remove anything defamatory with a registered trademark. You can do this by visiting the office of trademark registration in your country if your business name is not currently being used by another company. Don’t let the paperwork overwhelm you. There are step-by-step instructions on how to fill out everything available online. You do not need to hire anyone additional to help you with paperwork. However, if you are too busy to accomplish this, many lawyers specialize in business and trademark applications that can assist you.
The Difference Between Service Marks & Trademarks. The term “trademark” is often generally used to refer collectively to trademarks and service marks. A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods, like the IdeaPros Light Bulb and IdeaPros has a trademark on the term Super Venture Partner™.
2. Register your company name for a website.
Register a website domain name for your business name. You can sign up with domain registration service providers like GoDaddy.com, Register.com or Namecheap.com.
There are a lot of versions of domain names extensions now, but .com is still the primary one that people will type in. So register the .com version at a minimum, if it’s possible. Sometimes you can find the owner of the name you want and purchase that if the .com name is not available through registration service providers. Doing this will help you protect your company’s name from being used by other people in the future. You can register additional domains like .org, .net or .guru even!
If your business name is hard to spell, register the common misspellings as well. Then you forward the wrong domain to the correct one. Don’t put it past your competitors to register the incorrect spellings of your name to steal customers!
3. Supplement a “trademark” sign beside your company name.
“TM” means trademark (e.g., Company™) Type these initials in superscript beside your business name in all your business communications such as letterheads, logos, emails, business cards, and other print communications. You can do this as soon as you have filed your trademark application.
Once you are approved, you can start using the symbol ® which means “registered” (e.g., Company®).
Remember to trademark your tagline!
4. Keep an eye on your reviews.
Negative reviews online are inevitable. It may either be directed towards your company or maybe a mistaken identity when a competitor or someone else uses your business name or a name close to it.
For example, some companies mistake IdeaPros with the IdeaPro complaints and negative reviews.
Ideapro IdeaPros ← with an S
Negative reviews 75 Trustpilot 5-star reviews
Graphic Team Images Graphic Team Images
With a bit of research prospective partners soon see that the (S) on IdeaPros makes all the difference in the world. Ideapro (an old, closed company) has some complaints, and with a bit of investigation, it’s easy to see that IdeaPros (our company helping entrepreneurs launch successful products to market) has many great reviews. Take a look at Trustpilot to see that our stellar reviews.
How to Fix A Negative Review Attached To Your Company
If you get a lousy review attached to your business name, don’t panic and don’t be impulsive. Here are some tips that you may resort to when such occurrence takes place:
- Re-read the review to assess it better. Respond calmly and politely. Explain the situation to the commenter and apologize for the confusion.
- Do not take the negative review personally. Do not engage in an argument. It’s normal to feel hurt but take it as a lesson and an opportunity for you to improve your products and services.
- Be humble and apologize if the review is factual. Find a way to communicate with them more privately. You can ask for their email address or contact number.
- After apologizing, state your action plan and accomplish your proposed solution. Unsatisfied customers need not only know that you acknowledge your mistake. Do this to regain the customer’s trust.
- Follow up with the customer to ensure satisfaction. If the customer is satisfied, they most likely will remove any defamatory review that they have posted. If they do not, politely ask them to take it down.
- Begin with the end in mind. Every customer relationship should begin with the intention of getting a fantastic testimonial from them. Be sure to have a template in place that makes requesting a review quick and easy so that you have more GOOD news on the internet than BAD news!
The Moral of the Story: Work at Maintaining a Positive Business Reputation & Know Your Rights
A case of mistaken identity in business could be detrimental because your reputation is on the line. If another company or a competitor oversteps a boundary, seek legal advice from a lawyer, so you know your options. Or you can take the approach that IdeaPros has taken and written an article addressing the situation so that future associates can have confidence in who they are working with.
Putting your head in the sand is indeed not a solution; getting angry or upset is not any better though, often those feelings can do more damage than the mistaken negative reviews. Having a step by step process and a solid, thought out plan (even if you never need it) is the best business policy.
In many cases, the ideas in this article can act as a solid foundation for your businesses Policies & Procedures Manual and can be the beginning of a solid Standard Operating Procedure.
Remember if your company has been confused with a completely different corporate entity, keep calm and address it professionally. You’re bound to win when you walk the road less traveled.
IdeaPros is a Super Venture Partner™ who has the resources, experience, and tools to help you succeed at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest in the success of their idea. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.