It is possible to enable other people and/or organisations to use you brand but you must have a very sound business reason for doing so. The saying “act in haste, repent at your leisure” is very true in this case so if you are considering allowing others to use your brand, proceed with caution.
The following are some things to consider if you are thinking about allowing a third party to use your brand.
Firstly, there should be a benefit to your business and/or your brand. This would normally be a financial gain but in some circumstances may be less obvious, such as building brand awareness or increasing the perceived value of the brand.
Secondly you must set very clear parameters for the use of your brand. The exact nature of these parameters will vary depending on the circumstances. You may, for example, restrict the geographic areas in which the brand may be used, set clear results based targets for the brand, set strict guidelines for using the brand (which should effectively be your brand guide, assuming that you have detailed guideless on how your brand should be used), etc.
Thirdly, make it legally enforceable by using a licencing agreement o some other form of legal agreement between you and those who you are allowing to use your brand. You should take legal advice in these matters to ensure that you are properly protected.
Finally once all of the above steps have been taken monitor everything. Never assume that the rules you have set out for using your brand are being followed. You must be diligent and check carefully and regularly that the users of your brand are complying with the rules you have agreed with them and penalise any infractions.
A common example of the use of trade mark licencing would be in franchising where the franchisor would normally provide the franchisees with a licence to use their all or parts of their brand. The franchise agreement will normally include certain very strict rules and restrictions regarding the use of the franchisor’s brand, including detailed rules and regulations setting out exactly how the brand should be used.