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Bill Bathurst

Real Estate, Brand Strategy, Business Development

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Brands are Intellectual Property

Posted by Bill on October 17th, 2011

Brands are Intellectual PropertyMost people think of patents or science when they hear the term intellectual property, which I feel blemishes the thinking about the need to intersect it with the creative process. Intellectual property, as it relates to branding, includes all aspects of marketing. How does a company ensure that if and when it invests in developing new science for its products, the brand it builds to sell that product will have long-term staying power, be protected and produce a greater return on investment?

The key to developing and maintaining brand economic success is to design intellectual property strategy into the creative and innovation process from the beginning. Whether you are part of executive or senior management, or a company owner, you will find marketing trends are increasing the need to think about combining intellectual property strategy with the creative process. Thinking about intellectual property at the outset of the creative process means that you will have a product with longer and more sustainable value and the right strategy to protect your brand can increase its value.

Long-lasting intellectual property must be the result of creativity and innovation activities. This requires an approach that includes your internal teams working together:

  • A buy-in from top management
  • R&D
  • Sales teams
  • Marketing (that would include your corporate communications personnel)

Everyone must have an understanding of how branding can create powerful and economically valuable intellectual property. If you approach the brand process this way, you can get the job done faster, utilizing fewer resources, reducing costs and increasing your path to success. But to do so, some assumptions that permeate most companies must be changed and new processes embraced. What I’m referring to hear is taking a more serious approach to marketing communications overall.

A few of the components that can be protected as valuable intellectual assets of the company include:

  • Product name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Design of the product
  • Design of the packaging
  • Distinctive colors of the product or packaging
  • Copy in the ad
  • Script of the commercial
  • Look and feel of the retail location or point of sale
  • Distinctive sounds and smells associated with the product/campaign
  • Music that accompanies the ad campaign
  • Content created on the website

All these above elements are protected by:

  • Trademarks
  • Trade secrets
  • Copyright
  • Design patents

To summarize, thinking about intellectual property in the middle of the creative process or at the end of the process is too late. Protecting every facet of the campaign strategically means it can last longer, have a greater impact, and produce a higher return on investment for your company.

Destination Marketing Branding and Marketing Cities

Posted by Bill on June 22nd, 2011

Destination MarketingWe help put cities and tourism destinations on the map. More importantly, we put places in the minds and imaginations of travelers and business decision makers. Place branding, like branding consumer products, starts with finding the underlying spirit of a place and defining what makes it unique. Branding a city or tourism destination needs the support of the people that live and work there.


A Boutique Approach

We’ve worked with boutique hotels and resorts of all types and sizes. In doing so, we’ve learned that no two tourism destinations or hotel properties are alike. Our approach is to always examine each with a fresh set of eyes (and ears). We dig deep to find and leverage the differences that make each destination and/or hotel property unique and create a brand that defines the experience and speaks to the customer in a language they can connect with.


Niche Tourism Meets Niche Marketing

Developing and designing distinctive brands for hotels, resorts and tourism destinations gives our clients a leg up on their competition, but that’s only the beginning. We go to great lengths to define, seek and understand your customers, because mass marketing to a large audience is not only expensive, it’s also very ineffective. Your marketing plan and marketing messages need to be highly targeted directly to your most likely customers. Through print and Web-based search marketing, email marketing, and other targeted media we single out prospects and turn them into your customers.


Results that speak for themselves — literally.

When it comes to hospitality and tourism marketing, we believe in complete transparency. Branding and marketing tourism destinations, boutique hotels, and resort operations is an important and essential investment. When you hire US, you can and should hold us responsible for results and a return on your investment. We design and build branding, marketing and advertising programs to “put heads in beds” and we’re not afraid to show you the results. We put metrics in place that not only show consumer traffic, but goals and sales conversions. Verifiable marketing results has become an obsession for us.

Business Owners-You Are Your Brand

Posted by Bill on December 7th, 2010

Some brands are so old and so well known that their importance is passed down from one generation to the other – almost like genes. Since the ideas ingrained during formative years are indelible, many people stick to using the information passed on to them when thinking of business brands without even being conscious of it. However, the increasing social networks phenomenon and new techniques of social branding have made it possible for smaller brands and newer brands to capture an effective market share.
The first step to social branding is effectively done by merging yourself into the various social networks. Remember, a brand is not just a logo; a brand is so much more than a picture. It can be emotional, it can be an experience – however you want to describe it or define it, you must find yours. One of my favorite authors said, “Brands are defined by the customer. They exist as a feeling that extends beyond the product itself.”(T. Scott Gross – Microbranding)

With social networks like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. being the rage of the times, creating a strong online presence will get an organization – or even a person – lots of friends and visitors to whom they can communicate and spread their information. Be it the latest new tool or a new service, to make a satisfactory online presence, the brand promoter should ideally stick to a few rules.
The content that is offered on the Internet for branding should not be of a soliciting nature, especially in the beginning. The first stage here is connecting and establishing relationships. For example, if you have a good video that could attract people you can upload it on YouTube, even if it is not directly connected with your brand. Contacting, connecting and engaging are all part of the first level of the social media “job”; all types of wholesome and entertaining content can be the first step to get started.

As our technologies get more advanced, I have noticed we are using advanced tools for communications, information sharing in order to reshape the very fabric of our marketplace concepts and relations. So how does a little business or a one-man show position themselves with the “established” brands? If you consider, positioning really has little to do with quality or price and everything to do with perception.

Emotional triggers are what sell – things that can emotionally connect you with the buyer. The entertaining aspect of connecting can then graduate into informing and advising to set the ball rolling in the path of branding. Instead of jumping into the fray of all social networks, you can start with just a few. Find out where your niche market is.
There really is no way around that. Not everyone wants your product and not everyone will like your brand. However, once you have established your groundwork in the social arena, you can steadily increase your presence to make sure that you’re being noted. As you establish a solid base in these social networks, it is important that you are absolutely transparent. Your name, profession, arenas of interest and things that you have to offer should become clear to the others.

Everything you are is branding. When many entrepreneurs start out, they might spend months trying to separate business from family or “work” from “life”. They then spend the rest of their life understanding that, as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you are your business, from the way you behave to the words you use, down to the business card you hand out. Whether you like it or not, it’s the culmination of all you are that makes the brand.

Consistency is important. Everything you do, show or promote becomes part of your “brand”. For instance, a business cannot afford to change their profile every month or so, so that there are two incarnations of the same business at different stages. For effective social branding, the profile projected should be the same across all the social networks you frequent. When someone has seen or used your product, they should be able to recognize you instantly.

Social branding is a low budget scenario. It may not be an easy process, and you will have to spend some time on it, but you will not need advertising staff that you may have to pay through the nose. Nor will you need airtime or newspaper space for which too you need to pay. Many social networks are free.
For example, at a site like Ning, users can create a personalized network that can be shared with any number of users with a common interest. It is free (if you can grin and bear it when ads pop up), but you’ll have to pay if you prefer to operate in ad-free, sanctified ambiance.
When doing social branding, it is important to live up to the promises and not try to survive on hype. Of course, this is a golden rule in the world of advertising, and not one that is a must only for branding through social networks. Nevertheless, it is one that people often tend to forget. In fact, living up to promises is one way in which smaller entrepreneurs can outwit business brands that sport glossy ads and prime time commercials.

Social branding is very helpful in promoting unknown brands in the case of niche marketing. In niche marketing, the marketer essentially concentrates on smaller pockets as the target market. These pockets will be places dominated by people of certain physical characteristics, race, age, language, nationality, or profession where most people will be in need of a certain product. Spreading brand information through social networks and thereby creating new business brands works well in such setups.

When we say social networks, we understand only online networks today. These are surely far more vibrant than local word of mouth networks, but in creating business brands, even face-to-face networks have their role to play. Remember Social media is not going away anytime soon, but it is evolving… what are you doing to make your brand matter?

Personal Branding and optimizing SEO – Bill Bathurst

Posted by Bill on September 24th, 2010

Seo. Social networks and Personal Branding… Putting it all together

Bill Bathurst
Personal branding on the web is important. If you want to know something about a business contact, the first place you go is Google. Managing my own online reputation and using social media to advance my SEO has become something of a mission. In the last couple of months, my work profile, my LinkedIn profile and my Twitter profile have slowly started to climb Google’s rankings, but the idea for this post came to me after reading a great post on Social Media Today by Kiesha Easley entitled: “5 SEO tips (that won’t make readers gouge their eyes out)”.

In the post, Kiesha talks about writing the type of content that she wants to write about on her blog and considering SEO as a secondary consideration, which struck a chord with me. If I’m really honest, I very rarely optimise my posts even though I advise clients to. But something about Kiesha’s article made me think twice about this approach in specific relation to personal social media optimisation. Your own blog is one of the most effective methods of personal online branding out there, so you should make use of it as such. A regularly updated blog using key, targeted search phrases and keywords is a powerful tool, so for personal branding it makes sense to make sure your own name features somewhere. Hence the title of this post, the link and the use of the phrase ‘Bill Bathurst’ three times in the first 100 odd words.

Then come social media channels that lead naturally from your blog, more and more of which are being indexed by search engines. Favoured by the likes of Google, social media enables you to become involved in numerous communities, from LinkedIn groups to Flickr sharing, and using each of these in conjunction with your search term (in this case, your name) should help yield results in the long term. Especially if you link each channel together using your search term as anchor text. A good personal social media optimisation strategy will involve elements of:

Customised personal profiles on social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon
Keyword (name) tagging of images and videos on Flickr and YouTube, via the title, description and the tags themselves
Ensure your privacy settings are open in Facebook and claim your vanity URL
Claim your username on Twitter and fill out the bio, even if you’re not using it
In short, make use of social media for personal SEO purposes. The social web is all about sharing and conversing, so the more you get out there and interact with people, comment on forums and groups and network, the greater the chances of you being at the top of Google when someone searches for your name.