The Legal Implications of Brand Building with Jenny Odegard

jenny odegard on brand

“Does your brand exist legally? The depends on what your brand is.” We only tackle the big questions on this podcast! Our guest this week isn’t a branding author, marketing strategist, or someone working in the trenches, building brands. But she helps people do just that. Jenny Odegard is a lawyer focusing on people and companies in advertising, marketing, and other creative industries. We discussed what your brand should know about the law on this week’s On Brand podcast.

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About Jenny Odegard

Jenny Odegard started Odegard Law with the goal of being an advocate for the creative class in New York, which she sees as being neglected by the larger legal industry. She began working with freelancer friends and independent agencies, growing the practice to represent people and companies in marketing, advertising, production, designers of every variety, makers of beautiful objects, the fashion industry, and many more. Jenny has helped take companies from an idea over a beer to flourishing businesses by establishing new companies, creating contracts systems, working with vendors, talent, and employees, resolving disputes and handling negotiations, and protecting intellectual property rights.

Before starting the firm, the best job Jenny had ever had was as the editor-in-chief of her university’s arts weekly. In the intervening years, she’s looked for roles that could be as creative and challenging as that one, leading her to work in politics, policy, nonprofits, public relations, and eventually to attending law school. During law school, Jenny focused on alternative dispute resolution and business law. After graduation, she spent two years on the social content team at a legal marketing firm before starting this business.

In addition to her work as a lawyer, she also writes for various publications including Forbes and serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics. Presently, she lives in Williamsburg with her dog Lucy, who can be found in her office most days. She likes to drink a lot of coffee, make spreadsheets, and ponder the finer points of post-modernist thought.

Episode Highlights

How does one end up as a lawyer for creatives? “My dad was a musician so I come by it naturally. And that’s also something I love about being in New York. I was amazed when I found this need in the market.”

[INSERT BAD LAWYER JOKE HERE] Look, no one looks forward to talking to a lawyer. But they should! “People underestimate how much you work with a lawyer. How much time you spend with them.” That’s why Jenny has focused her practice on building authentic, engaging relationships with her clients.

When do brand builders commonly engage legal support? Jenny discussed a few key points of entry: (1) When they set up their entity, (2) When the register a trademark, (3) When they need an audit, and (4) When they have intellectual property they want to protect. Speaking of IP …

How has intellectual property protection changed in the digital age? “Everyone has great ideas and they share them online. Then they’re getting picked up and it’s not long before some brand will monetize that.” Jenny shared a story about someone tweeting after seeing a photo of Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna at Fashion Week that they should be in a heist movie. This “Twitter pitch” took off — without the originator of the idea’s involvement!

And, finally, does your brand exist legally? “That depends on what your brand is. Is it a visual identity? A set of services? What’s tangible about your brand?”

What brand has made Jenny smile recently? Jenny loves the Wing, a women-only co-working space in New York. She’s also inspired by how Spotify engages their customers with time capsules and other touchpoints.

To learn more, go to or follow the firm on Twitter.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community … Leah Nyfeler gave us a shout on Twitter after sitting in the audience of our live show at SXSW. Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my new book Brand Now. Discover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Pre-order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!