Part 2: Branding tools for origin-linked products

Origin-linked products have special characteristics, therefore, it is important to find a set of business tools which can be integrated in the overall marketing strategy developed by producers to convey these unique elements to the consumer.

Intellectual property tools are ideal for this purpose since the use of distinctive signs is important for branding goods and services.

Branding tools for origin-linked product promotion

There are two types of IP tools commonly used to protect and brand OLPs. These are trade marks and Geographical Indications (that covers Appellation of Origin / Denomination of Origin and Geographical Indications concepts).

These tools can be used by producers to distinguish their products in the market as well as serve as communication tools to convey important information about the product.

IPR tools

Geographical Indications

These are special IP tools which serve to protect products which have special characteristics linked to their geographical origin.

Importantly, some GIs also have associated with them a quality / certification scheme and can also serve to communicate product information to consumers in the marketplace.

Trade marks

A trade mark is a sign used to distinguish the goods or services of one trading enterprise from that of another.

Producers can strategically use both Geographical Indications and trade marks to brand their products in the market.

Trade marks can be used by individual producers to distinguish their individual products while GIs can be used collectively by all producers to identify that they are part of the GI producer group authorised to use the GI designation associated with the product.

Learning exercise

Our product has unique qualities due to both natural and human factors.

Currently however, there is no collectively accepted standard for production.

Due to the reputation of our products, some producers located outside the delimited geographical area, use the name of our product.


Question: What can we do when developing our OLP branding strategy?

Based on these factors, we can assess that there is a need to protect the geographical name of the product and the producers.

There is also a need for producers to reach consensus on the production practices and standards which will be adopted as a minimum standard; to determine the collective tools which will be used and the quality scheme which will be adopted.

Additionally, there is need to strengthen the reputation of the product among consumers by communicating to them about the product’s quality.