Although we know that a brand is much more than a logo or tag line, for the purpose of this post, we’ll use Marketingpower.com‘s definition which states that a brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Distinct is the key word here. In order to distinguish one good or service from another, there needs to be some clear-cut difference.
The Morgan School, a high school located in Clinton, CT, has been using a husky dog as its mascot for at least 25 or 30 years, according to the school’s Superintendent, John F. Cross. Oddly enough, the high school’s logo bears a striking resemblance to the University of Connecticut’s husky logo.
After nearly three decades have passed, UConn has asked The Morgan School to stop using their logo. According to an article from the Hartford Courant, “use of the similar dog could interfere with UConn’s ability to “˜effectively market and license’ the use of the logo.”
Branding is immensely important in the world of marketing. Consumers recognize a certain product or service based on the way a company positions its brand. Some brands are easily identifiable like Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike. Yet there are copycat brands out there that simply imitate the world’s leading brands. One example is I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and its copycat, You’d Butter Believe It. The latter brand’s packaging is so similar to the former brand, that shoppers can easily get confused and unintentionally purchase the wrong product. In order for well-known, leading brands to remain marketable, they have to be unique. In the case of The Morgan School, the use of its husky dog logo is an obvious threat for UConn.
The good news is that UConn is working with Clinton’s high school in order to keep the school’s costs at a minimum. Students at Morgan are in the process of coming up with a new logo which will be different from the UConn logo.
By Jenel Conde
Mason Intern Winter 2012