The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Guest Column: The Importance of Trademark Protection

Strap a bike helmet on your brand

by Erik Pelton

I love to ride my bike. The fresh air, exercise and freedom are invigorating. As I leisurely rode to work one morning last month, I crashed and flew over the handlebars, landing on my head in the middle of the street. I escaped with a just few scratches and bruises–and a cracked helmet (see photo below). Some say I was lucky, but I believe I was not seriously injured because I was prepared. I wear a helmet every time I get on my bike to reduce the risk of injury in case of an accident.

Businesses, entrepreneurs, and consultants would be wise to place figurative “helmets” on their brand assets each time they create one. Brand names, logos, and slogans are some of the most critical and valuable assets held by successful businesses. For example, the Google trademark is worth over $40 billion dollars according to Brand Finance. When brands are plagued by copycats and knockoffs, they divert sales and harm a business’s hard earned reputation.

Registering trademarks with the USPTO is like putting a bike helmet on a brand. Trademark registration provides both preventive and contingent insurance for brand owners. A modest investment in trademark registration of a brand pays double dividends by reducing the likelihood of a trademark dispute, while at the same time providing the owner with a stronger position in the event of such a dispute. Another powerful benefit of registration is that by using the ® registered trademark symbol, brand owners communicate to their customers that their offering is unique, valuable and worthy of guarding against copiers. The legal benefits of a registration are tremendous too, but hopefully are never needed since infringers will be less likely to copy a protected trademark.

When you crash on your bike, it is too late to strap on a helmet. When your brand gets imitated, it is too late to benefit fully from trademark registration. Proactive trademark registration–just like my bike helmet—provides valuable protection and peace of mind day after day.

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© 2014 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC

Erik Pelton has provided brand advice to hundreds of businesses and consultants, and has registered more than 2,000 trademarks for clients. For more information, visit www.ErikPelton.com.

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You Are Who You Say (Or Don’t Say) You Are

Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci is running again for the position, and he’s hated by the Providence Journal, with an almost irrational venom. Buddy has viewed this with great humor, and quipped once, “If I walked on water today the headline in the Providence Journal tomorrow morning would be ‘Mayor Can’t Swim.’ ”

I could tell you that my wife drives a seven year-old car. Or I could tell you she drives a 2007 Bentley convertible that she loves.

Language, communication, truth, honesty—we’re dealing more and more with shades of grey. In an age where you can expect everything to be broadcast and spread virally, both innocent and malicious misinterpretations can undermine us and our businesses.

Create your own “truth.” Manage your messages. Build a strong brand. Engage evangelists. Make yourself and your value so well known that no amount of distortion can impair your image.

Public opinion has to be constantly managed. How fungible is it? Congress people running as Democrats this November have chosen not to have President Obama campaign with or for them, even in states he carried handily in the last two elections (news item today in the Times). A huge benefit is now perceived as a huge handicap.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Reviving Business

If your business results are down, you have two basic choices to revive things:

1. REPLICATE what’s worked well for you in the past. Identify the causes of your success and recreate them. Find people, circumstances, and opportunities that have yielded high results before. This assumes that the times haven’t changed in a manner which makes these not as effective as previously. This works particularly well in finding new clients for existing products and services.

2. INNOVATE: Find new standards for your business, new products and services, new approaches and methodologies. Create new value and applications around your intellectual property. This works particularly well in increasing your business with existing clients.

Don’t just sit back and assume the pendulum will swing toward you once again. It may just be circling around to knock you out.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Alan’s Monday Morning Memo – 10/6/14

This week’s focus point: Our goal should be to build and sustain the kind of lifestyle we cherish, not to merely make as much money as we can. “Kerching” does nothing for me, but a beautiful sunset or great play does. TIAABB: There is always a bigger boat. Don’t allow “yacht envy” to rule your life. “Getting comfortable in your own skin” doesn’t mean the constant pursuit of money, but rather the rational pursuit of happiness. That differs for all of us, but for none of us is it simply a large bank account. I’ve met quite a few rich, unhappy people.

Monday Morning Perspective: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. — Harry Truman

Million Dollar Consulting® Convention Discounts Ending: There is no reason for any serious consultant or coach not to be at this unique event: http://www.summitconsulting.com/million-dollar-consulting-convention/ Discount ends in 9 days.

The Power of Personal Worth: Join global colleagues sustaining high esteem through these brief, weekly, video and audio and print segments. http://www.alanspersonalpower.com

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Porsche: Dumb Ass Stupid Management

We leased a Cayenne Turbo S, which we love. It’s well built, high performance, and much more intuitive and practical than our insane BMW X7 and its loopy computer.

However, Porsche Financial is run by people so dumb it’s hard to believe the same company can also build fine cars. First, they failed—failed—to bill property taxes they paid back to the owners/lessors of the cars, and then instead of sending a correct bill, they turned the amounts over to a collection agency! So we all received threatening letters out of the blue from one of these dirt-bag attorneys for a couple of hundred dollars.

Second, they informed me I was in violation of our lease, since they weren’t named as payee on my auto insurance for the vehicle. Yet it’s impossible for the dealer to register or release the car in Rhode Island without this information reflecting the financing entity, and the policy was done correctly. The dealer had to straighten them out.

I’ve had similar problems with Bentley Financial (often run under the auspices of Audi or Volkswagen Credit), which forgets to bill property taxes or assigns a late fee because they send you the bill barely a week before its due date!

Letters to these people go unanswered, and phone calls, after interminable waits, wind up with mindless, robot-like employees who only keep repeating what the script tells them and have no judgment whatsoever, like a crew of the lobotomized.

Great cars, fine engineers, terrific sales and service people. But the dumbest, stupidest back office operation in automotive history. VW: Very Woeful.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

The Adventures of Koufax and Buddy Beagle

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Introducing Ann’s Clarity App

Ann Latham, a member of my community, has created Ann’s Clarity App, which is the cheat sheet for clarity. It will help you get better results faster, with greater confidence and commitment. It is even more valuable if you use it to create shared clarity. Using Ann’s Clarity App as a group will get everyone on the same page quickly, focused on the same thing, and able to contribute much more effectively.
Here is the link:   http://bit.ly/anns-clarity-app
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Social Needia

When I visit Twitter, I see a lot of people trying to express something of value within 140 characters, or far less if they want to be retweeted. That’s not a bad exercise. There are others who “follow” 15,000 or 50,000 others, which we know is a joke. But if you follow those people producing value every day, I can see the point.

When I visit Linkedin, I find a lot of people looking for work, either employment or to sell me something. I also find it to be drifting, not having its own personality, but seeming to be a mini-Facebook as well as networking function. It reminds me of a room full of networkers just talking to each other.

When I visit YouTube I find a lot of people who are original and opportunistic, and a lot of others who are amazingly crass and vulgar. It staggers me to read comments that reflect arrant ignorance, bigotry, and hatred. I don’t care about dull videos, but dull minds are not something I seek to be around.

When I visit Facebook, I find a lot of people who are exceedingly needy and lonely seeking commiseration from others who are needy and lonely. One guy actually posted, “Gee, I have nothing to post today,” and others insist that you prove yourself by responding to their post so they know who their true friends are! Others express the most intimate aspects of their relationships, health, and tragedies that I guess some find therapeutic but I see as desperate.

I paint with a broad brush and their are exceptions, but spending hours a day on these sites seems to me like throwing your life away in part and in piecemeal, an elongated diminishment of productivity, like the proverbial frog in the gradually boiling water.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Consultant Needed to Work in France

Looking for a candidate to lead an 18 month, full time, onsite, contract assignment in the South of France. This is a full time, contract position and requires experience in transformational change. A background in strategy and organizational change management is needed. The project will probably extend beyond the 18 months but this is the initial phase.

If you are interested, please email your CV to change@brightonleadership.com

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