ICS Magazine

The Value of a Service Mark

July 2, 2012
Earlier this year, it was announced that the IICRC would take on the cleantrust as its service mark. But what is a service mark and why is it useful?
A service mark is a design or logo used to establish the identity and image of a service. A service mark is still a type of trademark, but is used for services instead of physical products. Service marks offer several advantages. By providing a name and symbol that consumers can readily identify, they can aid in word of-mouth advertising and help build loyalty. By constituting an easy-to-remember mark that customers associate with the IICRC’s services, the cleantrust fosters goodwill. The service mark of the cleantrust – along with our industry reputation as the IICRC – allows us to have the best of both worlds.
The service mark also has benefits for registrants as it allows them to distinguish themselves amongst competitors. The IICRC is difficult for consumers to grasp – and as all of us know the full name is even harder to say – so the cleantrust helps our qualifications become more understandable. Using the name as a service mark allows us to market ourselves beyond the industry as consumers look for and trust symbols of technical proficiency and high ethical standards.
For example, the Energy Star logo is widely recognized by consumers as an indicator of a more energy efficient product. It’s easily identifiable and much easier to say than “this appliance is certified through a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.” This isn’t to say we have the marketing budget of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to promote our service mark; but, what we do have is an active base of registrants who can be champions of the cleantrust and the IICRC all over the world.
Many of you may be asking, who can use the cleantrust logo? As a service mark of the IICRC, the cleantrust logo should be used by certified firms on all consumer or end-user facing materials. Individual technicians are also able to wear the cleantrust certified technician patch on their uniforms, but may not use the logo for advertising or marketing purposes. The IICRC has developed a series of brochures featuring both the IICRC logo and the cleantrust logo to help consumers understand the connection between the parent organization and the cleantrust. Additionally, your certification cards also have both logos to help you explain how the service mark is a symbol of your IICRC certification. 
Now that we have our service mark in place, it’s time for action. We anticipate success through our registrants, firms, instructors, schools and industry partners actively promoting the cleantrust, an IICRC program. In the coming years, our goal is to have the cleantrust as widely recognizable and highly regarded as the Good Housekeeping seal. We’ll continue to explore how the service mark is used to ensure that our registrants, supporters and other interested parties are getting value from the program. I anticipate that the use of the service mark will strengthen both brands and allow for more integration with affiliated industry partners for the industry as a whole to be more successful.