Wednesday, May 2, 2012

brand cachet

What's in a name?

In fashion, the brand can be everything. Anyone can provide quality, but not many can provide that special cachet. An article in the Independent recently mused about the classic British brands Aquascutum and Burberry - the first struggling to maintain sales and the second re-inventing itself and growing apace. Burberry is now a brand sought-after by a new generation of buyers, while Aquascutum - once worn by Winston Churchill - struggles.  Speculation is that it may go the way of another brand which used to be worn by the Royals, Hardy Amies, which went bankrupt in 2008.

In case you’d like to check if your favoured fashion brand is really delivering the impression you’d like, try this site.  It seems frivolous, but behind it lies a serious issue. Just ask Aquascutum.

As any good trade marks attorney will tell you, it pays to check the meaning of the hot new brand that your creative people have come up with. It as important as searching to make sure that the mark, or something similar, is not already used or registered by someone else. A brand that is cooly elegant in one culture may seem ridiculous in another. You may have heard of POCARI SWEAT, the popular Japanese energy drink; or the story of how NOVO for cars didn’t take off in Spanish speaking countries ( no vo - no go). Then there was CEDRIC, also for cars: it sold big in Japan but for some reason wasn’t as fashionably popular in western countries. 

But of course there’s always an exception to prove the rule. Swedish fashion brand ACNE seems to have defied what might be your expectation, and has overcome the word’s meaning as a skin rash to build a popular trade mark. Apparently ACNE is an acronym for ‘Ambition to Create Novel Expressions’. But despite convincing customers of this, there’s still the occasional reference to that ‘other’ meaning:

The fashion set is afflicted by Acne at the moment: it’s all over their backs, their feet, even their coffee tables. If you don’t have any yourself yet, now’s the time to scratch the itch. (from The Independent)