If you want to start your own business.

Or if you’re running your own business and want to run a better business.

Know the difference between a Trademark and a Trustmark.


Most businesses look to build a trademark.

A trademark looks unique.

So unique in fact that it is authentic Intellectual Property and you’ll invest money in protecting it.

The McDonald’s golden arches for example.

Nike’s swoosh.

Primarily visual.

And a great reminder of a brand’s presence in the market..


A Trustmark is better, though.

Being a Trustmark focuses more on what you’re recognised for than what you actually look like.

A Trustmark ‘feels‘ unique.

Because of how it behaves and how it actually ‘is’.

How it makes decisions.

Values are part of it being a Trustmark – and the fact that customers know what the Trustmark’s values actually are.

A Trustmark evokes emotional connection.

Loyal fans and followings.

And genuine adoration.

It’s normally because of the change the organisation is trying to make.

Their purpose.

All Trustmarks have a purpose.

Trademark v Trustmark.

So, if you want to start your own business.

Or if you’re running your own business and want to run a better business.

Build a Trustmark.

Because you’ll matter more and last longer if you do.

(People like angelfysh know how to do this, by the way.

So if you need help – ask).


  1. Great article Michael. I think it’s an interesting intersection between organisations that focus principally on the bottomline vs those types of organisations who focus on the products. I think the exchange of quantity vs quality is where the divide exists, which if you sacrifrice the latter there exists no trust. It really amazes me there are some brands that have succeeded without this being part of their ethos, but maybe that says something more about the mass consumer of today rather than the brand themselves?

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment Richard.

      Please comment as much as you like. It’s always good for me to hear what people think and to learn.

      For me, if a brand wants to succeed in the long term it has to do something that actually makes a difference to people – the product or service offering has to be great. Really great. That’s rule 1.

      But not at any cost.

      There are niches where ethics and ecology matters less, but those niches themselves – ultimately – will matter less too I think. (And I hope).

      The worst kinds of fast fashion trundle on with zero regard for ethics and ecology. Eventually, I hope, their market will be eroded as the consumer sees that buying from tase kinds of operators says something about them as people.

      But at the moment, some practitioners are ‘training’ their consumers to behave in certain ways. To see clothing as disposable for example. When a dress on Boohoo costs £5 (it does – right now – and that’s not on sale) then certain behaviours are being encouraged.

      Single-use, for example.

      300,000 tonnes of clothing are burnt or buried from the UK population each year.

      Those who ‘Buy Less and Buy Better’ are getting something much more beautiful, considered, personal and expressive – and they have been bright enough and unselfish enough to think about bigger picture issues too. Which says something about them as people.

      Their clothing changes with them. It wears in – not out.

      I like that.

      Hiut Denim, McNair Shirts, an embryonic Always Wear Red. We are all advocates of this.

      I am constantly refining Always Wear Red to become better and better and better at all of the above and more besides.

      Tricky of course. But I don’t know, or want to know, any other way.

      I am totally bored with short term, unintelligent approaches to business in general.

      A founders responsibility, I think, is too create the right founding principles. Then live by them.

      See you soon I hope Richard. Please comment lots!


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