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Brand Protection – What You Need To Know About IP

Posted By Sumi Nadarajah, Partner & European Trade Mark Attorney, FRKelly, Tuesday 10 November 2015
Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
Intellectual Property (1)

    Establishing a strong brand is pivotal to the success of any business. Protecting that brand is equally important. Yet many entrepreneurs and their advisors overlook an important first step in securing their brand: Trade Marks.

    Intellectual property (IP) has become one of the most important resources in the 21st century. It’s now an accepted fact that, just like financial capital or commodities or labour, IP is more than an economic asset – it also forms the basis of a global market.

    The global IP market has become a major contributor to wealth and value creation worldwide. It serves to protect the interests of a hugely diverse group from individual inventors toiling in their garages to large corporate enterprises such as Coca Cola, Calvin Klein, etc.

    Brand Managers are beginning to recognise that IP is an intangible asset and similar to real property – it can be bought and sold. They need to be cognisant that their IP strategy should be integrated with their business strategy – and the importance of protecting and acquiring IP as needed when entering new markets.

    The terms “brand” or “brand name” are interchangeable with Trade Mark – the term used in legal circles. Of course, a product brand or a corporate brand is a much larger concept than a mere trade mark, as building a strong brand and establishing the brand equity of a business is a bigger challenge than choosing, registering, or maintaining one or more trademarks. However, the ultimate success of a brand is also judged in terms of the total value derived by the customer from the product to which it relates.

    In today’s world, brand owners face the additional challenge of protecting their online brand presence, company reputation and digital assets  - all of which is of fundamental importance to business success. An online brand presence is the most valuable asset to startup companies, for instance and requires thorough and continuous protection services. The digital landscape has allowed businesses to scale and grow at an unprecedented rate. However, as these brands continues to expand its global reach, the digital assets are subject to increased online threats that can ultimately damage the brand equity, reputation and integrity.

    In an ideal world, brand owners and managers should ensure that they address all of the following as part of any marketing program:-

    1. Appreciating the basics of Trade Mark law when devising the brand;
    2. Conducting thorough checks to ensure that the proposed brand does not infringe  the IP rights of their competitors. Here, it is advisable to conduct trade mark searches before commercializing products and services.
    3. Seeking to register the brand at the very start of any marketing process in order to take full advantage of the corresponding IP rights while undertaking advertising and other promotional activities.
    4. Ensuring that the IP rights are protected or mentioned in any advertisements and other promotional activities.
    5. Establishling an effective monitoring service to detect any infringement of their IP rights as this could be damaging to their business’s profits or reputation. IP rights allow you to challenge unauthorized copying, imitation and other kinds of infringement. There are laws which also provide protection against unfair competition, such as false allegations aimed at discrediting your products or services, allegations aimed at misleading the public as to the characteristics of your products and services and acts which aim at creating confusion with your products and services.

    Brand owners and managers would benefit greatly from getting to grips with the advantages of legally protecting their brand and the pitfalls to avoid when devising the brand..

    The purchasing decisions of consumers are constantly influenced by trade marks. As a brand owner or marketeer, it is imperative to have a solid understanding of why trade marks are so important to effective commerce.

    Interested in learning more about IP? The Marketing Institute is holding an upcoming breakfast event covering Brand Protection and what you need to know about IP. More details are available here

    This article was written by Sumi Nadarajah, Partner & European Trade Mark Attorney, FRKelly.

    Involved in the full spectrum of intellectual property law, Sumi counsels foreign and domestic clients in the selection and creation of effective company trade marks to enhance brand recognition and awareness, while also protecting a company’s marketplace position. She coordinates the worldwide IP portfolios of a number of leading Irish companies and also represents the trade mark interests of a broad range of SMEs and private individuals, specialising in the food and beverage and packaging sectors. Sumi has significant experience in domain name matters and her technical expertise extends to registered designs in addition to trade marks. Sumi is also periodically published in Lexology, World Trade Mark Review and various publications within the retail sector in Ireland. She currently chairs the Copyright & Designs Committee of the Association of Patents and Trade Mark Attorneys (APTMA) in Ireland and is also a member of the International Trademark Association, currently sitting on INTA`s European Anti-Counterfeiting Committee.

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    Q&A with Jane Madden and Meabh Connellan, Vizeum

    Posted By Vizeum, Tuesday 10 November 2015
    Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016


      The content marketer has to be a trend forecaster, a creative thinker, have an analytical mind and be more tech savvy. Content marketing isn’t solely about the creative perspective, it’s also about data and insights so the future is about the coming together of art and science in a way we haven’t seen before, so the content marketer of the future will have to be skilled in both areas.


      27 million pieces of content is a lot. People can only consume and engage with a certain amount so it’s not surprising only .1% goes viral. There is also an issue around quality.  Data needs to be harnessed to ensure your content is relevant to your audience; however content is still a piece creative work and should be treated the same way. Creativity is not a science, and focusing solely on data will never lead you anywhere new, all it will do is tell you what consumers want now, not what they might want in the future.  As we know, consumers don’t know what they want, so it’s our job to use our technological and creative expertise to bring them something new and exciting that we know they will engage with.


      Be brave. Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail and no-one sees it, in which case you will have learnt something. Most importantly take ownership – and above all avoid listicles!


      We are lacking the same level of investment in terms of people. Luckily we are seeing a turnaround of late where content is seen as a valuable marketing tool and is being pushed to the top of the agenda.


      No matter where tech takes us, there is no substitute for creative thinking.

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      Web Summit – A Social Media Review

      Posted By Kantar Media, Friday 6 November 2015
      Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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        The Web Summit 2015 has come and gone. Kantar Media have compiled a review of social media activity surrounding the event.

        Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 15.59.32 resized

        Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 15.59.51 resized

        This infographic was originally published on

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        Irish Marketers Trailing International Peers in Content Marketing

        Posted By Naoimi Young, Tuesday 3 November 2015
        Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
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        There’s no question that content is shaping the marketing landscape globally but how is Irish content marketing really doing? A survey conducted by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and 256 Media is the first to establish the state of content marketing in Ireland and how it compares to international markets, and it finds that Irish marketers appear to be still getting to grips with this relatively new discipline.

        Content marketing is beginning to make an impact with Irish marketers who spend 22% of their marketing budgets on content marketing currently, compared with a UK market figure of 26%. However, with 75% of Irish marketers intent on increasing their content marketing spend in the next year, this budget gap looks likely to close.

        79% of marketers consider content marketing to be important, with 76% saying they have a content marketing strategy (compared to 87% of UK marketers). However, only 48% have documented their content marketing strategy (though this is about 10% higher than our counterparts in Australia, the UK and the US).

        Customer engagement was rated the highest in terms of strategic intent in Ireland, followed by lead generation and website traffic growth.

        The most used content assets are social media (used by 92%), followed by articles on website (74%), video (70%) and enewsletters (66%). Interestingly, blogs are used by just 51%, which is significantly lower than international norms (85% of UK marketers use blogs).

        92% of Irish marketers view social media as the most important tactic, with Twitter (52%) found to be the most effective channel. Twitter also featured as the highest ranking social media platform in the UK, and the US while in Australia, LinkedIn was most popular.


        Those with a documented (as opposed to just verbal) content marketing strategy, are more likely to consider their efforts effective, and to use personas, to produce more content, to increase their content spend, to use external resources, to have a dedicated team member responsible, to use content management software, to know what they are spending, and to measure their efforts. However, a lack of time, budget, and resources are proving to be a big drain on content efforts and marketing teams the world over.

        Commenting on the survey, Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of The Marketing Institute, said “We are delighted to have this first insight into the state of content marketing in Ireland, as it allows us to benchmark ourselves versus other markets where content marketing is more established. The results point to significant opportunities for Irish marketers to enhance their return on investment in this area. This is important as only 26% of Irish marketers rated their content marketing efforts as effective compared to 42% of their UK peers.”

        Karen Hesse, Managing Director of 256 Media, said “This survey suggests that Irish marketers are enthusiastic about content marketing but still getting to grips with the discipline. We see scope for improvement in how we are approaching our content strategy, implementation, use of technology and measurement of return on investment in order to drive better returns from our increasing spend. This is evident from the fact that only 42% use Buyer Personas, a staple of content marketing, to inform their efforts.”

        To download the 24 page ebook ‘What’s the Story?’ with the detailed results of the survey, click here.

        Note on the survey: This survey was conducted online. All respondents are based in Ireland.  20% of respondents worked in companies with <10 employees, 46% in companies with 100-1000+ employees; 36% in companies 1000+. 35% of the companies surveyed were B2C; 24% B2B; 46% both B2B and B2C.

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        Marketing is a (Buyer) Journey, Not a Destination

        Posted By IBM, Sunday 1 November 2015
        Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016

        CMOs are implementing significant shifts in where and how they allocate marketing spend.

        In the ‘Customer in Control’ marketing age, marketers are experiencing a renaissance within their discipline. It is already disrupting how marketing operates and is re-writing the rules for the future.

        To understand how marketing is evolving, The CMO Club in partnership with IBM surveyed 100 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). Then, we sat down with eight respected marketing executives to get their perspectives on the research, the marketplace and the implications.

        Two notable trends we gathered from 100 CMOs:

        1. CMOs are pivoting their marketing to include customer retention/advocacy while concurrently allocating investment across the entire customer journey, not by channel. Traditionally, marketing has been focused on awareness – reach and frequency, staying on message, and stuffing the top of the purchase funnel. However, the research revealed that today’s CMO is much more focused on investing across the entire customer journey from discover to advocacy – with an understanding that journeys have changed dramatically. Overall, marketing budgets were reported up, due to either strategic funds or strong organic increases, but so are expectations. Furthermore, CMOs are planning to increase their spending across every stage of the buyer journey over the next two years by an average of 50 percent.

        2. Marketers are constantly testing, failing, winning and innovating with their digital multitaskers. As they are doing this, they are less interested in uni-directional tactics (e.g., television, print) and prefer multitasking digital tactics. Digital is rapidly gaining favor as marketers engage in closer dialogue with their customers across the buyer journey.

        The main reason for this is both practical and strategic in nature. CMOs want to engage where their customers are – and that is increasing disproportionately into digital realms. The fact that digital channels are multitasking (addressing the buyer at different stages of their journey) and offering rapid feedback is allowing for more agile and nimble experimentation to test different approaches.

        What follows are four key takeaways CMOs can apply to their own marketing strategies.

        Four key takeaways from the CMO Study:

        1. Understand that we’re in a Marketing Renaissance

        Spencer Stuart reports that average CMO tenure is at 48 months – double where it was in 2004. As the recruiting and consulting firm has stated, “CMOs’ ability to leverage digital and analytics to create value for the business has been a factor in longer tenure. The ability to create measurably successful marketing initiatives built on customer insight has increased CMOs’ credibility in the C-suite.”

        Accordingly, marketing budgets are rising. Our research found that 57% of respondents indicated their budgets would increase over the next 2-3 years. Duke University’s CMO Survey also reported in February 2015 that marketing budgets were expected to rise at their highest percentage (8.7%) in the next year.

        Respondents indicated that their annual budgets may only be slightly increasing, however the ability to show quantifiable return on investment (ROI) is enabling access to strategic and innovation budgets that weren’t previously accessible.

        And where are they investing their increasing marketing dollars? Content marketing. The CMO respondents reported that content (13%) is leading the charge. That is followed by digital advertising (11%), traditional advertising (11%), and even those analog, physical activities (11%) remain important.

        2. Invest across the experience, not the funnel

        Unlike their traditional counterparts, marketers in this new age of marketing are increasingly focused on the entire buyer journey. Our research shows that on average, marketing budgets are being invested evenly across the buyer journey, with the highest investment at the Buy stage (21%), followed by Discover (20%), Learn (16%), Try (16%), with Advocate (14%) and Use (13%) rounding it out.

        What’s interesting is that marketers are planning to spend even more on the buyer journey, with CMOs planning to increase spending in each stage by an average of 50%. Furthermore, many CMOs identified a significant change in their buyers’ journey due to the digital disruption of the last 10 years. In short, the customer now dictates the journey, with or without you.

        3. Bet on every horse in the race

        Marketers are testing the waters by experimenting across tactics and buyer stages. In a sense, they are initially putting bets on every horse at the start of the race, but leveraging agile approaches to reallocate resources to the leading “horses” mid-race and increasing their chance to win the day.

        What’s behind this experimental approach to budgeting? Fifty-three percent said that the main reason for experimenting with different allocations across they buyer cycle is due to the imperative to generate higher revenue. And 20% say that they are experimenting with different allocations because better data and technology allows them to measure the success (and failure) of each experimentation, so they can quickly identify winning approaches and pivot away from less-than-effective ones.

        4. Learn from the rise of the digital multitaskers

        CMOs clearly indicated in the survey that they are growing less interested in uni-directional tactics (e.g., television, print), but prefer multitasking using digital methods. Our research strongly shows this shifting interest with a 52% traditional and 48% digital spending split.

        Digital is clearly king as marketers endeavor to get into closer dialogue with their customers across the buyer journey. The main reason for this is practical in nature, CMOs want to be where their customers are – and that is increasing disproportionately into digital realms.

        Regardless, the rise of the digital multitasker is here. CMOs consistently rank social, website, email, digital and apps as their preferred tactics within each buyer stage. By investing in digital channels, CMOs are able to hedge their investments and deploy tactics across multiple buyer stages at the same time.

        The fact that digital channels are multitasking (addressing the buyer at different stages of their journey) may have been a fortunate accident rather than an intentional investment. However, this approach allows for more agile and nimble experimentation to test different tactics. ROI attribution is a secondary bonus.

        Peer advice: Practical how-to’s

        Today: Evaluate your understanding of the buyer journey and how you create an experience. Don’t assume your buyer’s journey has not changed in the last few years as many CMOs are discovering shifts or even complete flips where they engage with the customer. Remember the customer does not care about your org chart and are engaging outside of the marketing department (e.g., sales, customer service, your other customers).

        Tomorrow: Challenge your mental models of marketing and how/where you engage with your customer’s buyer journey. Evaluate who you will need to partner with in your organisation to deliver a better customer experience. Traditional media is not dead but the measurement and adaptability of digital channels means we need to evaluate where digital or a hybrid digital/traditional approach will create a better experience.

        Next month: Run, don’t walk. Longer CMO tenures, access to strategic budgets, and newly quantifiable marketing plans are enabling you to transform your organisation and quickly show impact. Don’t forget the content needed to fuel the machine, but evaluate if you are encouraging more or precise content.

        Next quarter: Make experimenting (and failing) systemic and part of your culture. It will not happen overnight. Actions including allocating a set percentage of your budget for edgy, untested ideas and enabling the team to become domain experts in new channels will support experimentation without reprisal if it goes sideways. Place multiple bets before the race, but measure and agilely move your bets mid-race, not after the season is over.

        This article was first published on IBM

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