Category: Business, Sales and marketing
Publication date: September 28, 2021
Extent: 252 pages

Brand Tuned

The new rules of branding, strategy and intellectual property

Shireen Smith


A brand is more than a snazzy logo – but what else is there to consider when building a brand? Do you really need a brand for business success? And what has intellectual property got to do with anything?

A strong, authentic brand is what makes your business stand out from the crowd – and what drives long term success. But the branding industry can be an overwhelming minefield, full of conflicting advice and multiple disciplines – so how do you navigate your way through the process? That’s where Brand Tuned comes in. With the step-by-step TUNED methodology, you will:

• define your brand to drive the business forward and help it stand out

• know what brand promise will attract your ideal client

• pick a name that will put you “front of mind”

• ensure that the design elements you choose are distinctive and ‘ownable’

• train your team to live the brand.

Drawing from evidence-based research, interviews with experts, and years of experience supporting businesses, Brand Tuned is the first branding guide written by an intellectual property lawyer who specialises in trademarks and brands. By incorporating the principles of intellectual property law right from the start of the process, branding expert Shireen Smith will show you how to create and build the brand that is right for you and your business – while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

Shireen Smith is an intellectual property lawyer specialising in trademarks and brands, with years of experience in marketing small businesses. Her TUNED framework is designed to guide you to create a brand that attracts sales for the long term.


As someone dipping my pinkie toe into branding, marketing, and digital art, I found this book incredibly helpful. Her fresh perspective coming from a law background was instrumental in steering me on the right path with my business and I highly recommend anyone considering a path in branding or IP to pick this book up! It’s a quick, informative read!


This book is essential reading for all entrepreneurs who want to build and protect brands for long term profit and market share. It’s worth reading this before you even think about naming a product or designing a logo. If you happen to design brands for a living, this book will also give you an edge in being able to create and protect the assets you create for your clients.


Well organized and perfectly written, Brand Tuned is a bedside book for any entrepreneur who takes their business journey seriously. It approaches branding as a strategy to help you to start your brand journey one step ahead. From its cleverly structured methodology to well-presented research, this book will surely become a guide for businesses of any size.


Anyone involved with setting up or growing a business will benefit enormously from the insight provided by this book into the world of branding. All aspects are thoroughly covered in a way which is both enjoyably readable and positively instructive.


A convenient 1-stop-shop that gives the whole picture on how to create and build a distinctive brand, while avoiding potential pitfalls. It’s so much better to do the important things *right* from the start than to have to fix afterwards the mess that could have been easily avoided in the first place!


This is a really informative book that has clearly been very well researched. I particularly liked how the book aims to cut through the myths and jargon around branding and gives advice on creating and protecting brands in a way that is really clear and easy to understand.



‘Much as I didn’t expect this, I enjoyed this book immensely. It was refreshing to see some legalistic rigour brought to bear on the most misused and overused term in the marketing lexicon.’
Rory Sutherland Vice-chairman, Ogilvy UK

‘This book belongs on your shelf. It explains how to develop and protect IP, a brand name, and brand symbols all crucial to long term success and all underappreciated and understudied.’
David Aaker Vice-chairman, Prophet; brand strategist; author

‘As marketers we need to hone our skills and keep learning to expand our knowledge. I recommend this book for marketers who want to improve their knowledge and understanding of the application of IP to their work.’
Sophie Devonshire CEO, The Marketing Society

‘Brands are the lifeblood of a business. If you own, or are custodian of, one then you must, must, must protect and nurture its precious equity. This book will give you a head start.’
Phil Barden Managing Director, DECODE Marketing Ltd; author of Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy

‘Your brand is a cornerstone asset and it’s worth getting right. This book will make sure you are creating a brand in line with the latest evidence-based thinking on how brands grow and how to develop distinctive brand assets. This book should be a companion for any entrepreneur with ambition to create real value.’

Daniel Priestley CEO, Dent Global

‘A welcome salve for many a curious soul and a thoroughly enjoyable easy read on two critical subjects for the Digital Age. Hopefully this invigorating book will help change the way marketers, designers, and MBA students are trained in IP, and IP lawyers are trained in branding. Not before time!
Chrissie Lightfoot CEO, EntrepreneurLawyer Ltd

‘Brand Tuned is essential reading for all entrepreneurs who want to build and protect brands for long term profit and market share. You should read this before you even think about naming a product or designing a logo.’
Joe Gregory Founder, Rethink Press; author of Make Your Book Pay

‘Brands are important assets. They take time to build. This book summarizes how we can most effectively build and protect them so we don’t waste valuable time and resources. A useful guide, not just for those working in a legal profession.’
Wiemer Snijders Partner, The Commercial Works; curator of Eat Your Greens

‘Anyone involved with setting up or growing a business will benefit enormously from the insight provided by this book into the world of branding. All aspects are thoroughly covered in a way which is both enjoyably readable and positively instructive.’
Michael Harrison, Chartered patent and trade mark attorney, Past President, Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys

‘In Brand Tuned, Shireen Smith brings clarity and focus to the critical concepts of building and protecting brand value.’
Derrick Daye Branding Strategy Insider

‘Shireen Smith has done the branding community and all businesspeople a great service by highlighting the importance of IP law in branding. Who better than a lawyer with branding experience to explain where the two disciplines overlap and dispel some common misconceptions about both.’
Rob Meyerson Podcast Host, How Brands Are Built

‘Well organized and perfectly written, Brand Tuned is a bedside book for any entrepreneur who takes their business’ journey seriously. It approaches branding not only as naming a company but also as a strategy to help you start your business journey one step ahead. From its cleverly structured methodology to well-presented research, Brand Tuned will surely become a guide for small and big scale businesses alike and help light the way for start-ups as well as experienced industry leaders. Knowing her readers’ needs thoroughly, Shireen Smith continues to share her valuable experience in the most innovative way possible.’
Levent Yildizgoren Managing Director, TTC wetranslate Ltd

‘Shireen Smith provides an elegant discussion on brands, whose modest length belies the scope of its wisdom and practical advice. Nearly every page offers an insight worth remembering, and she combines her intelligent observations with abundant germane examples. If you are a trademark professional, read this book. If you are a branding or marketing professional, read this book.’
Neil Wilkof Counsel, Dr. Eyal Bressler Author of Trade Mark Licensing”


Part 1 – What is a brand and why does it matter?

IntroductionThe UK TV program Grand Designs shows how a building project is achieved with the involvement of several disciplines. Creating unique Brand Tuned needs to similarly involve various disciplines. Intellectual property, in particular, is not an appropriate subject to leave till after the brand is created. As Steve Jobs highlighted, design means how it works, not just how it looks. The book explains how the Intellectual property dimension of brands impacts branding, and why visual identity needs to be the final step, not the first one. It incorporates interviews with subject experts from the fields of design, marketing, PR, digital marketing, SEO, and intellectual property valuation

Chapter 1 – What is A Brand? Why Is Branding Important?
Understanding what brand and branding mean is fundamental to getting a better outcome from branding. CEOs and other target audiences of the book would benefit from developing their knowledge of branding. There are many myths and misinformation surrounding this subject, particularly the intellectual property dimension of it. I will try to interview a high profile individual for this chapter on the importance of IP, possibly Deborah Meadon

Chapter 2 – The 3 Fundamental Problems in Branding
The branding industry includes many new media companies, such as web designers who provide branding services as a secondary activity. Many are unaware of the business purpose of branding, and the role of intellectual property in their work. The industry tends to separate branding from intellectual property, leading to problems. Unlike big business, founders of small businesses do not have a brand manager to take care of their brand needs. Even large companies can lack an understanding of the role of IP in branding. Richard Kirstein and Anne. H. Chasser & Jennifer C. Wolfe

Part 2 – TUNED methodology Think IP First

1st Component of TUNED

Chapter 3 – Using an inter-disciplinary approach to branding

The world has changed, so must branding. It needs to take account of IP so IP and branding are dealt with together. Branding in the 21st century needs to be inter-disciplinary. This partly involves professionals expanding their expertise to include related disciplines, such as for lawyers to include branding as part of their skillset, or designers to also cover strategy, communications, marketing or PR too, A wider range of skills is especially needed when supporting smaller businesses. Focus on the Brand Rewired book, as well as considering Aaker’s book on Spanning Silos Anne. H. Chasser & Jennifer C. Wolfe. Lucy Wern, Seek comments from Aaker,

Chapter 4 –Think IP First! Is the first component of TUNED

IP is about erecting barriers to entry, a moat around your business as Warren Buffet calls it. A review of what brand elements are protectable, and how these considerations impact the approach to designing a business and brand. Leaving IP till after Brand Tuned is the wrong way around. Branding needs to start with IP, and deal with designs last. International nature of IP principles will be highlighted. Stephen Robertson. A visual representation of the TUNED model.

Part 3 – TUNED methodology – Understand your Market

2nd Component of TUNED

Chapter 5- Understanding Customers and Competitors

Understanding your client and market are the focus of this chapter. Identifying what customers want and need is key to success for any brand. This involves knowing who your competition is, and what market you’re in. Competition is not just direct competitors. It also includes indirect competitors who may have similar offerings or entirely different ones that enable customers to achieve similar outcomes in different ways. This involves finding groups of people based on their psychographics, worldviews, life stage, priorities, attitudes to life, rather than focusing purely on demographics, and creating personas. Byron Sharp research findings. Mark Ritson, JP Hanson, Phil Bardon

Chapter 6 – Key role of positioning.

What moves the needle in branding? Here I will also look at the evidence-based research, and how it impacts brand strategy, outlining the Ehrenberg-Bass institute’s evidence-based research from Byron Sharp from his books How Brands Grow, and also from Jenni Romaniuk’s book Distinctive brand assets. They introduce fresh thinking that impact certain areas of branding such as purpose. and differentiation, The chapter considers positioning in more depth, highlighting Seth Godin’s distinction between positioning and differentiation. Byron Sharp, Jenni Romaniuk, Comments from Mark Ritson and Seth Godin will be sought too.

Part 4 – TUNED methodology – Name it right!

3rd component of TUNED

Chapter 7 – Considerations When Choosing the Name

Discuss the different approaches to brand naming – “house of brands” and “house brands” and the hybrid approach to brand hierarchy. Coca Cola, and Proctor & Gamble case studies of brands that changed their approach to use an endorsed approach a few years ago. Jeremy Miller,

Chapter 8 – Use own name?

When is it appropriate to use the founder’s own name for a business? Pros and cons of using the founders name as the name of the business brand. Explore this topic thoroughly here so chapter 11 just refers back to this chapter when covering proper names as a type of brand name. Dell, Disney, Marks & Spencer, Clarks, and many other examples of brands using founder’s own name. Relevance of such a choice to the chapter on the importance of building own personal brand in business will also be touched on here and expanded upon in chapter 15. Jeremy Miller, Rand Fishkin

Chapter 9 – How SEO, Online Visibility and Marketing impact branding

The internet impacts every industry. It is constantly evolving and changing. Our approach to branding needs to keep up, and not hold onto outdated notions, such as the continuing emphasis on the need to own the .com domain of a proposed brand name. SEO considerations that impact marketing imperatives should not override branding fundamentals. Choosing generic brand names is misguided because branding involves using a unique and distinctive name. It’s doubly important to use a unique name when going global. There is widespread confusion about which considerations should prevail when it comes to names and keywords. Rand Fishkin

Chapter 10 – Choosing the name.

The right way to go about naming. 5 types of name: descriptive, suggestive, names that have a dictionary meaning, proper names, made up names. Why descriptive and certain other name choices, such as well-known initials that stand for something like KPI, key performance indicator should be avoided. Will illustrate types of name by using examples drawn from the latest Interbrand list of top 50 brands. Brand value and names. Darlene Hart of US Tax and Financial Planning. Stephen Robertson. Interbrand representative on naming.

Part 5 – TUNED methodology- Establish the Brand Strategy!

4th component of TUNED

Chapter 11 – What is Brand Strategy? How does it impact branding?

Setting the brand strategy plays an important part in developing and growing the brand to reflect the promise the business wants to be known for. It’s the pre cursor to naming and visual designs. Drawing from the book Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt this chapter covers the importance of thinking about business fundamentals such as ‘What business are you really in?’ Kodak and Blockbuster case studies. Also, 6 Ps are outlined for determining the brand strategy: Purpose, Principles, Positioning, People, Product, Personality. Michael Johnson. JP Hanson (Image of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs)

Chapter 12 – How to plan your strategy.
The core of your brand strategy is your vision, mission and values. These are the basis on which to build the strategy, and to use to align it to your products and processes. Asking a series of Why, What, Who and How questions to uncover some common areas of thinking needed to set the strategic direction of the brand, The strategy will play a major role in determining the brand story, and messaging, as well as internally to inspire and motivate the team. Consider the brand book and begin thinking about what messages to communicate and how.

Part 6 – TUNED methodology – Drive the Brand Strategy!

5th component of TUNED

Chapter 13 Drive the Brand Strategy! – the fifth component of TUNED

Once the strategy for the brand has been established involve designers to create a visual identity that can best reflect the brand promise. Marty Neumier’s ideas about importance of enabling the creatives who are designing the brand to revisit the strategy as part of considering the visual approach. Jenni Romaniuk’s book Distinctive Brand Assets impacts branding choices. The design considerations need to bear in mind what is ownable as IP. Jack Wills trade mark dispute case study, and example of Azrights development of Ram icon. Interviews with Marty Neumier, Jenni Romaniuk,, Laura Ries. Images of Azrights Ram icon. Jack Wills icon. Ehrenberg-Bass institute’s Owl icon. Visual icons of some famous businesses that evoke their names, Compare the Market logo. Nike’s swoosh, MacDonald’s M, Coca Cola’s bottle, Apple’s apple, Rolls Royce

Part 7 – Brand building

Chapter 14 –Promoting the brand.

Driving the brand strategy also impacts how you promote the brand internally and externally, and communicate brand messages. Draw from Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow to illustrate some ways it impacts marketing and branding. Brand building on social media, being omni-present- being everywhere, visible, and recognizably the brand. Budget constraints for smaller businesses, and how to manage this as they grow. Promoting the brand internally to support the culture and to motivate the team to make on brand decisions. Using the brand to guide recruitment. Tony Hsieh, Katie Burke

Rand Fishkin. Will Critchlow. Byron Sharp

Chapter 15 – Personal, Business and Product Branding

Discusses the importance of having clarity around your personal and business aspirations and aligning the two so you build the right business. Unless the founders own name is being used for the brand, it’s essential to promote a triage of brands, the brand name, as well as the personal brand of the CEO, and also key product brands. Trend towards using personal brands of individual team members to promote the business brand. Stephen Robertson.

The environment of the 21st century calls for a rethink of society’s approach to branding. More education is needed for the many businesses that offer branding services to update their thinking, particularly around intellectual property and its role in branding.


Document to assist when identifying a new name.

Brand strategy document, including checklists

Brand book document and what needs to be included in it



Paperback / 9781788602693 / September 28, 2021 / £19.99

Ebook / 9781788602686 / September 27, 2021 / £9.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £22.49


Shireen Smith

Shireen Smith is an intellectual property lawyer and business advisor specialising in trademarks and brands.

Her interest in business and entrepreneurship led her to in-house positions at Coopers & Lybrand and then Reuters. She returned briefly to private practice, working briefly at the international law firm Eversheds while raising her two daughters, before setting up Azrights as a law firm in 2005..

Shireen is a trained journalist and writes extensively about brands, business and IP in her various blogs. For example, Intellectual Property Rights – Why Ignoring Them Could Be Disastrous for UK Businesses and Licensing and Franchising – What is the Difference and Does it Matter? She has a strong social media presence, including a You Tube channel, Instagram account, Facebook page Twitter and a growing LinkedIn presence.

Shireen is the host of the podcast Brand Tuned – Smart Thinking, Better Branding which discusses personal and business brands to give founders ideas and inspiration for their brands.
She has published articles in numerous journals, and been a regular speaker at the British Library, the London School of Economics and at conferences for the legal industry and entrepreneurs. She is the author of two books, Legally Branded and Intellectual Property Revolution, which focus on the impact of the internet on business IP.