Tag Archives: branding

Branding stories; WIPO new online brand-search tool and Coca Cola

WIPO have launched another new tool this month.  See “WIPO Launches New On-Line Tool to Facilitate Brand Searches“. From their press release:

“A new on-line tool launched by WIPO … will make it easier to search over 640,000 records relating to internationally protected trademarks, appellations of origin and armorial bearings, flags and other state emblems as well as the names, abbreviations and emblems of intergovernmental organizations. The Global Brand Database allows free of charge, simultaneous brand-related searches across multiple collections.”

Thanks to WIPO for another free resource.  It is part of WIPO Gold, a “free public resource which provides a one-stop gateway to WIPO’s global collections of searchable IP data”

And the Coca Cola reference?  Well, whilst on the subject of brands, I was reading the Intellectual Asset Management blog.  They posted an item: “The Coca-Cola brand suffers a sharp fall in value as Google hits number one

Love it or loathe it, no matter where in the world you are, the chances of finding Coca Cola are pretty high.  It was interesting to read therefore that

“for the first time [Coca Cola] finds itself outside the list of the world’s top 10 most valuable brands, according to the annual Brand Finance 500 study”

The article concludes:

“…although there is a lot more to brands than trademarks, it does means that if you are working in-house as a trademark operator, the job that you are doing is absolutely vital to the maintenance (as well as the creation, of course) of profoundly important assets. I am sure that this is not huge news to the trademark practitioners reading this blog, but I wonder how many other people appreciate it. My suspicion is that it is not as many as should be the case.”

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New global Eco Brand launched at World Economic Forum

Most US consumers recognize the Energy Star name and logo – it’s a seal of approval issued by the US government that is used to identify electrical efficiency in appliances ranging from computers and TVs to refrigerators and stoves.

NPR said:

The new WindMade eco-label, unveiled by business leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum, introduces a new standard for renewable products.  Manufacturers can label their products with information on the percentage of energy used to create the product that is derived from wind power.  This will enable energy conscious consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Read (or listen to) NPR’s coverage at:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/01/27/pm-windmade-products-do-more-than-suck-air/

And you can visit the WindMade web site at:

http://www.windmade.org/ which informs us that:

The WindMade™ label will provide qualifying companies the ability to effectively communicate to consumers a commitment to wind energy that differentiates their brand, and signals a strong commitment to renewable energy.

Good idea?  Yes.  But are we going to see a spate of brands indicating “commitment to”  other renewable energy sources (e.g., SolarMade, WaveMade)?  Needless to say, the list of “partners” launching the WindMade brand includes several wind turbine manufacturers such as Vestas Wind Systems.  Lining up 1,000 manufacturers to buy into a new brand is no small task, but from the point of view of the consumer it would make far more sense to launch a generic brand to identify commitment to any renewable energy source.  Products qualifying to use this brand would indicate that a certain percentage of energy used to manufacture the product was derived from wind, solar, wave, geothermal, etc., or even some combination of these.

The WindMade PR is confusing:  note how “renewable” is interchangeable with “wind power”.  I suspect that we will witness changes in this strategy over time; perhaps WindMade will be integrated into an über-brand that will meet consumer need to support companies that are committed to using any source of green energy.  In the meantime, Vestas should be lauded for its marketing savvy.

Post written by Peter Bloch 

Update on WIPO/WIPD; still causing confusion?

Remember the confusing “look & feel” of the WIPD (World Intellectual Property Database) site and the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation)?  See our post “WIPD hopes to be confused with WIPO; spot the difference!”  Well, we can now take a small breath of relief.  The WIPD logo has been amended, diminishing the likelihood of confusion. WIPO’s actions must have had some effect!

You can check it for yourself and see whether it is still a cause for concern. See the screen shots below of WIPO and then WIPD’s home pages.

(thanks to Francesca Re Manning)

WIPD hopes to be confused with WIPO; spot the difference!

I read with alarm the IPKat post last week regarding the WIPD site.
Friday fantasies“.  Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention IPKat.

The post concerns a website calling itself WIPD, which mimics the branding of WIPO and requests fees for dubious and badly defined services.  Even the strapline is similar; WIPO = “Encouraging Creativity and Innovation” and WIPD = “Imagine Creativity and Innovation.”  Whilst I easily found their list of fees, I couldn’t find the mechanism for processing them. Nonetheless the site is confusing in its content and closely follows the “look and feel” of the WIPO site, so at the very least it is compromising the integrity of the WIPO brand.  See for yourself!

the official WIPO logo (legitimate)

the official WIPO logo (legitimate)

WIPD logo (dubious)

WIPD logo (dubious)

The IPKat entry on Friday was an update from last week’s post in which they said:

“The IPKat is horrified that scam-merchants such as WIPD should be enabled to masquerade as a United Nations Agency in order to deceive and rip off gullible patent applicants, from whom it seeks substantial funds for its worthless services…”

The IPKat called on “WIPO to do something about it“.. and that “all patent practitioners to be aware of this rogue enterprise.”  I share IPKats disbelief that this is continuing.  It is nothing if not ironic…

What’s in a name? Know the value of your IP

On December 8th, an auction of inactive trade marks took place in New York.  According to NPR’s Marketplace:

Michael Reich owns Brands USA Holdings, the company selling the trademarks. He says old brand names can be used to sell new products, anchor a website or tap into the growing market for kitsch, you know, T-shirts and tchotchkes with vintage logos.

You can read or listen to the story at:

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/12/08/pm-whats-in-a-name/

These marks are often referred to as “zombie brands”.  They are inactive – think Circuit City, Sharper Image and Brim (as in “Fill it to the rim – with Brim”). Marketers who recognize the inherent value are breathing new life into these, and other storied brand names.

You can read more on Businessweek.com “Imation Brings Dead Brands Back to Life

What is remarkable is that:

Memorex dropped its signature TV ads, with their “Is it live or is it Memorex?” tagline, more than 30 years ago. And yet…research surveys showed that 95% of U.S. consumers knew the name, even among people in their 30s.

The message is simple:  know the value of your IP, whether it be patents, trade marks – or brand names.

Post written by Peter Bloch

Rebranding Xerox

Xerox has become a victim of its own success.  The word has become a verb in common global usage, and the company has moved way beyond copying.  So what was an asset is now at risk of becoming a liability.

You can read and/or listen to the story at: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/09/06/pm-a-xerox-beyond-copy-machines/ 

The bottom line is that Xerox plans a makeover driven by a big advertising and marketing campaign.  Branding consultant Rob Frankel observes that Xerox’s past attempts at transformation haven’t worked all that well and that:

Advertising will raise brand awareness, but if people don’t understand why they should care about the brand, then it’s going to fail.

 Marketplace:

He thinks there are a couple of hurdles for Xerox: It’s got to convince people it does more than make copiers. It also has to explain its new services and convince potential clients that it does them best. That’s a tall order for any marketing campaign.

 Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

MASA Brand Launch

On Thursday last week ICRISAT and its partners launched MASA, the Malawi Seed Alliance.  For the last year I have been representing CAS in developing the alliance and the brand for ICRISAT. For background on this initiative see https://casipblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/ip-issues-in-the-launch-of-masa-–-the-malawi-seed-alliance/   

Six months ago, we left ICRISAT and its partners with an alliance, a brand, a logo and a general plan.  Since then, the partners have – as we had hoped they would – taken ownership of the project, and have determined that the brand and associated trade mark should be held in trust for the benefit of the Malawian agricultural sector and, more specifically, small holder farmers and seedcos. The umbrella brand will be available to any seed company that meets ethical guidelines and is distributing certified seed. This is an exciting evolution, and may well be a “first”.   

Agro dealers and seed companies have been consulted as the project gained momentum, and the launch was focused on small holder farmers who will benefit from the increased availability of high quality, certified legume seed.  Benefits include raising nutritional standards within Malawi (the basic diet of maize has led to high rates of malnutrition) and a ground nut crop that NASFAM is selling to European buyers as Fair Trade products at $1,100/ton.   

The membership has expanded, and now includes:   

  • ICRISAT
  • National Smallholder farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM)
  • Association of Seed Multiplication Action Group (ASSMAG)
  • Agri-Inputs Suppliers Association of Malawi (AISAM)
  • Rural Market (RUMARK) Agro-dealers
  • Key entrepreneurs (provides seed marketing links to retail multiples, e.g. Peacock)
  • Seed Trade Association of Malawi (STAM)
  • Seed Services Unit (Government Seed Quality Regulatory body)

These bags show the MASA logo (top), the ICRISAT logo (bottom right) and the logo of the seed company that is distributing the seed (in this case, Peacock). Planting instructions are provided on the back of the bag, and participating dealers have received training so that they can help farmers get the most out of the seeds.

 Agro dealers who have participated in one of the sub-projects[1] (small-scale, localized seed multiplication) are about to harvest their first crop of certified ground nut seed and are excited about the MASA seed bags that have been distributed.   

 The launch event was well attended;  in addition to many of the partners (see photo below) we had an audience consisting of the press (newspapers and TV) and about 75 farmers and agro dealers from the Mchingi district.  The Irish Ambassador was extremely supportive of the project; he observed that there was little point in funding research without a market outreach component to ensure that innovations reach those who need them.   

MASA launch event. From left to right: Moses Siambi (ICRISAT Country Director), Blessings Botha (Agricultural Advisor, Irish Aid), Liam MacGabhann (Irish Ambassador), Felix Sichali (ICRISAT Project Manager), Fred Kwawalewale (Executive Director, AISAM), Felix Jumbe (Secretary-General, STAM)

 

The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Daudi, addressed the gathering and a spirited dialog ensued in which many of the farmers aired their grievances.  But two comedians, Chindime and Samalani, acted out a satiric skit involving farmers, agriculture and MASA which was highly entertaining, and the event wound up on a high note.   

 Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP   


[1] For other spinoff projects, see: https://casipblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/seed-infotech-critical-data-on-seed-soon-to-be-available-in-malawi/ and https://casipblog.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/genetic-markers-for-seed-purity/