It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your coaching business: What will I call it? How will the world identify my brand? Who am I? (Cue the drama…)

In all seriousness, your program name is how your audience and potential clients will identify you. And when you register that name as a trademark, you make things real! It becomes a protected asset as it’s a type of intellectual property you’ve built in your business.

How to Use Trademarking to Name Your Coaching Program

In today’s world of online business, with all the noise and competition out there, your trademark is more important than ever.

Your leads will search for you using your program name. Previous clients will recommend you to others using your company name. When you select a name for your business, your program, your podcast, your course, or even your weekly newsletter, you’re creating a source identifier — which is the definition of a trademark asset.

Think of Nike as a business — their source identifiers (distinct words, phrases or symbols used to identify the source of a product or service) include:

Their name: Nike

Their logo: the ‘swoosh’ symbol, and

Their slogan: Just do it.

They’ve developed a strong brand identity, recognition and trust in these trademarks. When you see the logo, you know the product will bear a certain quality. You know exactly where it’s coming from!

This means instead of registering just any trademark, you’ll want to register a trademark that is strong, distinct, and effective. Trust us, you don’t want to spend money on a trademark that is descriptive or generic (ie, a weak trademark you won’t be able to claim exclusive rights to) meaning other coaching professionals or companies in your niche are using a similar name.

If multiple coaches are using your desired trademark — or they need to use the words/phrases to simply describe their own products or services — you probably won’t be able to secure the exclusive trademark rights to it with the USPTO.

4 Types of Trademarks to Help You Name Your Coaching Program

  1. Descriptive trademark
  2. Suggestive trademark
  3. Arbitrary trademark
  4. Fanciful trademark

Keep reading to learn more about these types of trademarks and how to develop a strong, valuable trademark for your new coaching program!

How Valuable Is a Coaching Program Name?

A good name is important as it can define your business, but trademarking it is what will help protect your coaching business. When you’re considering trademarking your coaching program, you must look at the why behind it.

Why Your Coaching Program Name Isn’t The Most Important

The truth is the name of your coaching program will never be worth more than the work being done within the program. The relationship you build with each of your clients outshines the way you package up your program for marketing purposes.

Since you’re a great coach, you already know this…The whole objective of entering a coach-client relationship is the undeniable transformation you facilitate.

Whether it’s business coaching, life coaching, relationship coaching, health coaching, or some other awesome niche, you’d rather change people’s lives for the better than have a cute program name that attracts clients who don’t truly understand you, and vice versa.

Some online coaches get started without an official program name, or something more generic/descriptive, but what’s important is that they invest enough education, experience, and energy for their clients to see real results.

Why Your Coaching Program Name Still Matters

While all of that is true… we still believe you need a memorable and unique program name that represents what a client will get out of working with you. Otherwise, how will you attract leads to the program?

Having a nameless program could work at first. But your momentum (i.e. marketing and sales) will only last so long.

Choosing a program name simplifies the entire process of explaining your offer on social media, as well as building a new page for it on your website.

Naming your program becomes especially important as you expand your offer suite. Think about it: Who wants to advertise three different offers that all have super similar names? That just sounds confusing for yourself and your audience.

Since naming is essential, why not have fun with it?

And while you’re at it, consider taking the extra step to register your program name federally as a trademark, so you own exclusive rights to the name commercially in your line of work.

This can help you guard your intellectual property asset, deters competitors from adopting similar trademarks to label their products/services, while keeping you competitive and distinct within your niche.

4 Types of Trademarks to Help You Name Your Coaching Program

As mentioned, there are levels of distinctiveness when it comes to trademarking your coaching program name. We broke down all four types just for you. Being able to know all four will help you decide the best one for your business needs! You want to make sure you have all of the information needed before taking that next step of sealing your name.

  1. Descriptive trademark
  2. Suggestive trademark
  3. Arbitrary trademark
  4. Fanciful trademark

Descriptive Trademarks

Do your best not to use generic or descriptive words to describe your program. For example, if you were opening a restaurant, you wouldn’t want to call it, “Diner” or “The Sandwich Shop.” The same applies to the world of coaching.

Say you’re a business coach. You probably don’t want to name your coaching program, “The Online Business Coaching Program” or “The YouTube Channel Accelerator.”

Or if you’re a health coach, it’d be considered generic to call your coaching program the “Healthy LifeStyle Program.”

The USPTO will refuse registration to generic/descriptive marks because other businesses selling similar services need to be able to use those terms to describe what they do.

On top of that, what good does it do if a million other businesses show up in Google search when someone interested in hiring you tries to find you?

Having a descriptive and unique name is what will set you apart from the rest!

Suggestive Trademarks

One step up from descriptive trademarks are suggestive trademarks. (Coach, you’ll want to pay attention to this one!)

A suggestive trademark does not explicitly name the nature of the services being provided. Instead, it gets the point across in an indirect way.

Examples of Suggestive Trademarks:

  • Peaceful Parenting: a group coaching program for parents
  • Perfect Match: a relationship coaching program
  • Macho Mindfulness: a mindset coaching program
  • Beach Bums United: a business coaching program that is designed for individuals of the #digitalnomad lifestyle

💡 A suggestive trademark is the sweet spot you want to aim for when naming your online coaching program! It’s distinct enough to where your competitors don’t have to use those same words to describe their own services, but related enough to where your prospective clients may have an idea of what the program is about.

Arbitrary Trademarks

The next level of trademark strength is an arbitrary mark. Arbitrary trademarks include words that exist in the English language but have nothing to do with the service being sold.

Examples of Arbitrary Trademarks:

  • Queen Bee Mastermind: a business coaching program
  • The Rainbow Rooster: a health and wellness coaching program
  • The PAUSE Method: a signature methodology or framework

Want to see some examples of arbitrary trademarks outside of the coaching industry? Here they are:

  • Bumble: a dating app
  • Infiniti: a car
  • Apple: an electronic brand

Fanciful Trademarks

Finally, we’ve arrived at the strongest type of trademark: a fanciful mark. A fanciful mark is a word that bears no meaning in the English language and is used as a trademark to identify the source of goods or services.

Examples of Fanciful Trademarks:

  • Hulu: a streaming service
  • Kodak: photography equipment
  • Exxon: gasoline

What We Covered

There we have it! You’re one step closer to trademarking your coaching program name. You now know you should avoid using a generic or descriptive trademark. Instead, go the suggestive route so that you can properly advertise your coaching program and work with the clients who are perfect for you.

As a coach and overall brand, you’re about to stand out from the crowd. We couldn’t be more excited for you!

Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can upgrade your client contract while staying Protected & Profitable™✨

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you. Grab our FREE Legally Launch Guide to get the legal lowdown on everything in entrepreneurship, without the confusing mumbo jumbo. We’re serving it up straight and to the point. (Heads up: It’ll forever transform the way you view your client relationships!) Grab your copy now!

*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.

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