Lisa Merriam

Sarah Palin Brand a Registered Trademark?

sarah-palin-brandWe’ve covered political brands and the subject of brands who are people or with value closely tied to a real person, but today, the web site Mediaite has broken the story of the trademarking of the Sarah Palin brand. Pretty soon, that “R” next to her name won’t mean “Republican,” but “Registered Trademark.”

It’s not unusual for to trademark a name. Jennifer Lopez has done it, as has Paul Newman, Michael Jackson, and Martha Stewart–even Ronald Reagan. Still, trademarked names of politicians is rare. Barack Obama hasn’t done it yet. Neither has Nancy Pelosi.

That said, I suspect Sarah is in early on a new trend. Every brand should take every step to “own” their name. For people, owning your own trademark is an inexpensive way to protect your persona, whether you are a celebrity selling salad dressing or a politician turned opinion leader. If you don’t trademark your name, someone else will.

What is interesting about the Sarah Palin brand trademark application is what it reveals about Palin’s future plans. The left seems fixated on Palin’s political future, but it seems Palin is more focused on “information about political elections” and “providing a website featuring information about political issues”-in other words, a pundit brand, and the other for “educational and entertainment services … providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values”–could more reality television be in Sarah’s future?

More on brands and real people:
Steve Jobs and Apple’s Future Brand Value
Michael Vick’s Potential as a Brand: Lessons from Martha Stewart and Tiger Woods
When a Brand is a Person