Today, thousands of specialty health food stores across Canada and the United States (U.S.) carry the Green Beaver brand. Proudly Canadian, this family-owned company offers organic and chemical-free household cleaning and personal care products. Green Beaver’s extensive product line includes natural shampoos, fluoride-free toothpaste, mineral sunscreen, and aluminium-free deodorant.
Concerned with the amount of harmful ingredients found in everyday products, biochemist Karen Clark, and microbiologist Alain Ménard, launched the company in 2002 with the intention to create healthier, all-natural alternatives.
For Green Beaver, success lies not just in its quality natural products, but also in its solid brand image. Recognizing the value of intellectual property (IP) from the start, Karen and Alain considered how their brand name would be perceived in Canada and abroad. They also leveraged trademark protection to distinguish their company’s brand from others.
Green Beaver’s trademark journey
The name for us was really important. It was a way to differentiate ourselves from the majority of our competitors, which came from the U.S. or Europe.
The value of trademarks
A trademark can be a powerful marketing tool and a valuable business asset. A registered trademark can:
- prevent competitors from using it
- express your brand’s values and attract customers to your business
- set you apart from the competition
- help you establish customer trust and loyalty, and a solid presence in the marketplace
- protect your corporate image and increase the value of your brand
In a market dominated by American and European competitors, Alain and Karen saw their trademark as an opportunity to build a strong Canadian brand image.
When choosing a brand name, Alain and Karen discovered that most brand names in the market were generic. This convinced them to opt for a name that would be out of the ordinary, while also underlining its Canadian origin. As a result, the couple carefully chose the term “Green” to express the purity of their products, and the word “Beaver” to convey the Canadian origin of the company.
Alain searched the Canadian Trademarks Database before registering the brand name. This ensured they would not infringe on other registered brands, and that the name was unique enough for the company to distinguish itself from the competition.
Alain and Karen worked with specialized law firms that helped them navigate the registration process in Canada and later, in the U.S. Before registering “Green Beaver” in the U.S., the couple beta-tested their brand name to ensure it was suitable for the export markets. In the testing sample, customers associated the beaver with Canada, and “Green” with purity—the ideal image for a natural personal care company.
Building customer loyalty through trademarks
Through its effective use of IP, Green Beaver has established a lasting relationship with its customers, which led to a strong customer loyalty base, as well as a good reputation by word of mouth within the natural health community.
With a solid brand image that is associated with natural ingredients, Green Beaver has also attracted a loyal base of conscientious customers in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
Trademark tips from the owners of Green Beaver:
- Choose your brand name carefully—it expresses your brand’s message and sets you apart from your competitors.
- Consider what your brand name will convey both in Canada and in other countries.
- If you plan to export, you should take steps to protect your IP in targeted foreign markets.
- Consult a trademark professional for advice regarding trademark protection and to guide you through the registration process.
Consult the IP experts on how to develop an IP strategy for success.