Iceland Dispute: What It Means for Your Product Branding

Iceland's dispute with the Icelandic government highlights important lessons about product branding

A legal dispute between Iceland Foods and the government of Iceland shows little sign of resolution. The UK supermarket chain has a Europe-wide trademark registration for the term ‘Iceland’ – and now the island nation wants to “invalidate” the registration. This dispute is a question of brand identity – something that all food and drink producers can relate to. But what does this row between Iceland and Iceland mean for your product branding and packaging decisions?

Iceland’s government is pursuing this legal action because it says native businesses are unable to market their products as Icelandic. Iceland Foods, meanwhile, says it only wants to stop firms from “representing themselves as ‘Iceland’ in ways that could cause confusion with our brand” (.pdf). One thing looks sure – this is going to drag on into 2017. For food and drink businesses, however, it goes to show how vital it is to use “distinctive” product branding, names and logos.

Related: Brand Building – From Shelf to Sales


Are You Taking Your Product Branding Seriously?

Is the trademark registration preventing food businesses in Iceland from marketing their products as "Icelandic"?

The need for “distinctive” product branding is set out by Roythornes solicitor Lizzie Walters. Talking to, Walters says the row over the use of the word ‘Iceland’ brings the issue of branding into focus – not least for start-ups. To protect your business interests in the months and years to come, you should take steps to protect your brand today. It may stop you from coming up against any nasty shocks down the line, for example. And what price peace of mind as well?

So, how are you protecting your product branding? Why not start with the basics? By this, we’re mean those assets that are self-evident: “Products that are produced by a designated method or have a unique recipe can patent their process or recipe,” Walters reveals. “But other brands must fall back on trademarking assets such as their name, typeface or pack format. New brands should seek names that are as singular as possible and logos and pack formats that are distinctive.”

If you haven’t thought much about product branding, your next question might well be “why should I”. Don’t dismiss the impact a strong brand can have for your food and/or drink produce. The market is more competitive than ever, while consumer behaviour is evolving rapidly. Nancy Roberts is a designer at Cartmell Design Pvt and sums it up with great clarity: “Branding brings recognition and [is] useful in winning the confidence of consumers at the point of sales.”


Getting Your Product Branding Noticed

Our promo fridge hire solutions let food and drink producers to market their products in prime in-store locations

Of course, the creation of a strong brand doesn’t guarantee success. What does is making full use of all the channels available to you. At Refrigeration Rentals, we can provide a very compelling route to market for your chilled or frozen produce. With our promo fridge rental solutions, seize the initiative and disrupt the in-store retail environment. We take care of all the logistics and overheads, keeping your costs down and helping you achieve the best possible return on investment.

Our solutions go further than just providing the equipment you need too. A product is four times more likely to grab the attention of a consumer in its own branded space. That is why we also provide a full customisation service if you choose to make use of it. Through this, we can apply your product branding to our fleet. It shares your brand story, boosts awareness and drives sales – as well as putting your product branding in the driving seat for years to come.

Top Image: Edwardx/Wikimedia Commons

Related: Our promo fridge rental expertise

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