This week we held the third in our spring series of IP breakfast seminars. The topic was ‘obtaining and developing your brand’ and we had a full house of guests and even some rather spring like weather outside for once.
Yours truly was the ‘warm up act’ for the main speakers, covering the basics of trade marks, what they are, how to get them and how they relate to a brand. In terms of the relationship between trade marks and brands, a trade mark is simply one element of a brand, albeit an important one. A brand is a ‘promise of an experience’ while a trade mark is merely a badge of origin.
The ‘main event’ was the presentation by Jason Dobson and Matt Chapman of award winning design company Contagious. Matt and Jason have worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes and gave us a fascinating insight into the work they do both in helping create and develop a brand and also when working with existing brands. They touched on the point made earlier that a brand is comprised of many facets – and is very much more than a trade mark or logo. It communicates a message about the business, one about looking forward rather than back, and one that is increasingly important to the development and success of a business.
In the first of three cases studies they presented on they looked at the work they did with a start up – in this case the supremely talented Tom Kitchin and his burgeoning restaurant business. They then looked at the journey with Wolfson Microelectronics and finished off looking at the Craft product work they had done for Absolut Vodka.
Although the businesses were very different in sector and size, there was a common theme when it came to the development of the brand as in each case there was a story to tell and to communicate which had to be captured by the brand. In Kitchin’s case this was a matter of developing the existing ‘from nature to plate’ theme which Tom Kitchin was already advocating. In the case of Wolfson Microelectronics this meant developing a brand which reflected a company which had become a global player while still reflecting their highly skilled and technical niche. With Asbolut Vodka the Craft product evolved around the need to re-engage with a core industry sector – the bartenders – and communicate the story behind an innovative product; something which involved Matt and Jason having to attend the ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ bartenders 10 day ‘conference’ in New Orleans. Tough job...
A lively Q&A session and a line of people queuing to speak to them after the event suggested the audience were very interested in what Matt and Jason had to say. That reflects the importance of brands in society generally and particularly in relation to business. A brand is not just something for the big companies to throw money at. It is a vitally important asset and communication tool for all companies, regardless of age or size.
Our final seminar in our current series takes place on Tuesday 18 June on the subject of ‘Protecting and enforcing your IP’ and promises to be another lively and informative event. Please contact Linda Hutton or me if you would like to attend or want more details.