- Making a comparison between a company and its competitors for the purpose of explaining a value proposition (ex. “Our widget lasts 5 years longer than Company ABC’s widget!”)
- Using a well-known product or technology to serve as an audience’s point of reference for a new invention or innovation (ex. “Love Product XYZ, but hate that it’s so loud? Check out our revolutionary new product that’s 50 times quieter!”)
- Leveraging the popularity of brands that a retailer is selling (ex. “We sell the hottest apparel from Awesome Company #1, Awesome Company #2, and Awesome Company #3 – check us out now!”)
So let’s say you fall into one of those categories but the company name or product name that you want to use in your PPC advertising is trademarked. Do you have to completely throw your marketing plan in the trash? No way! All you need to do is go back to the drawing board and figure out a way over the hurdles of trademark restrictions. Here are the best ways that we’ve found to do just that:
Compare without Naming Names
“Longer battery life than other brands!”
“Most comprehensive warranty available!”
“Tired of overpaying for your membership every month? Switch now!”
You don’t have to mention a specific competitor to make a comparison. Referencing the industry standard or the industry as a whole is often just as good. In fact, it can even be better because companies that try to go toe-to-toe with their competitors can sometimes come off as slimy or aggressive. This direct comparison strategy can also give the less informed segments of your audience ideas of what other companies they should be looking into as they conduct their research – leading them away from your business.
Describe your way Around the Restrictions
“Standard display features with lightning fast performance!”
“Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all! Comes in 4 sizes and 25 colors that you’ll love!”
“All the features you already love plus everything you’ve been asking for!”
“The most accurate fitness band available!”
“Why wait for buffering on your device?”
Referencing an actual product is the easiest way to clue your target audience into what you’re selling, but it’s certainly not the only way. You can use non-trademarked terms that are well-known or you can just describe how your product differs from the average product in its class.
Talk About what you Sell (minus the Specifics)
“All of the top brands!”
“Over 20 of the hottest brands!”
“The biggest names in sports apparel!”
If you stock a bunch of name brands, you want people to know that. However, many big brands have very strict regulations about how you can use their names in your advertising. If your hands are tied when it comes to advertising (or you just don’t want to risk walking the regulations tightrope) you can always forgo mentioning the brands you carry specifically and make generalizations instead.
Hopefully you have a better idea now of how to hurdle over your advertising constraints when it comes to trademarked names. If you’d like some specific advice for your company, products or services, give us a call! We’d be happy to help!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!