When London's Underground network was created more than 150 years ago, no one could have ever thought that their brand would become an international icon known by millions around the world; much less, that it could become an additional source of income for the network's operators.

This, however, seems to have been their vision. Rather than waiting to develop their brand once the network was fully functional and operating - or worse, not doing it at all, they recognised and envisioned the potential and value of London Underground's brand as a whole - i.e. not only their name, but a carefully designed logo, specific font and typography used in their signs, notices and ads, the design of their maps and stations, and the know-how developed through their experience.

Today, the London Underground brand is an international icon that is being exploited by their owners through a worldwide-licensing program with other iconic brands such as Adidas (definitely something that no one in the 19th century could have thought of).

My word to the wise, your business's brand should not be considered as "ancillary" to it. A brand (comprised of just a trademark or a diverse portfolio of IP rights), when properly developed, protected, managed and exploited, can be an intrinsic part of your business and one of its most valuable assets.

You never know how far your business's brand can go!