What’s in a brand name?

The first guest blog for IP Australia, brand expert Christine Moody discusses how to protect your brand identity and important steps to consider before lodging a trade mark application.

What’s in a brand name?

Brand identity is fast becoming one of the most valuable assets for a business. Contemporary asset value (for intangible assets such as brands) is now nearly 85 per cent of the market value of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, according to an annual survey by Ocean Tomo in 2015. Yet protection of brand identity is often overlooked until it’s too late.

While ‘brand’ is most often associated with logos, it actually encompasses much more. Brand and brand name is integral to how an organisation engages with its customers and market and in many cases is its most recognisable asset. This is particularly the case for businesses that have little in the way of physical infrastructure or locations. The best way to protect your brand identity is with a trade mark.

Read more…

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

“…I teach executives the importance of brands by using insights from outstanding global retailers to identify trends and innovations to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in their own organisations…”

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Easton Pearson Archive at Museum of Brisbane x Christine Moody)

The amazing energy of Shanghai’s retail

Last week I visited Shanghai, and as usual, I was blown away by the energy of Shanghai’s bricks-and-mortar retail offering and the ease of shopping in this overwhelmingly, hectic city. While luxury brands have created the high-end brand experience by heavily investing in brand design—from the unique product design to expensive store design—the less-known brands also understand the importance of the brand experience. It seems that the brand experience is just as important to the tiny corner vendors selling fruit and vegetables as it to small convenience stores, shopping malls, fine dining restaurants, and cafes.

A great brand experience starts with making the sales of goods easier for the customers and removing the ‘pain points’. The brilliant display of the goods, the prominent pricing to make decisions easier, the use of QR codes made transactions both easy and painless! And the staff are only too willing to help you make the right choices—whether you’re buying a Gucci bag or just a bag of grapes!

As in any global city, retail is extremely competitive and these Shanghai businesses understand that it’s becoming increasingly competitive as the retail sector explodes with new shopping precincts opening every day. Stores recognise that creating a great customer experience is key to repeat business and central to this is the ease of cashless payments. No matter the vendor’s size, a simple scan of the QR code and payment via Alipay and WeChat Pay (Apple Pay not available in China) and the customer is out the door with goods in hand as quickly as possible.

Thank you Shanghai for the retail lessons.

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

“…I teach executives the importance of brands by using insights from outstanding global retailers to identify trends and innovations to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in their own organisations…”

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Shanghai Gucci store x Christine Moody)

One simple question to ask your customers

When we established the retail store for Poppy Cakes, one of the most important measures—beyond revenue for the day—was customer satisfaction. To measure this, we simply called every single customer who had ordered cakes and cupcakes for their special event—weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, christenings et al—and asked them one question…”Would you recommend us to family and friends?”.

This was inspired by the 2003 Harvard Business Review article: ‘The one number you need to grow‘ by Frederick F Reichheld, which outlines a process to “measure and manage customer loyalty without the complexity of traditional customer surveys”. And while seeking to rank our customers’ experience with us, it also gave me an opportunity to talk to them further and dig deeper about why they chose Poppy Cakes for their event. We could also dig a little deeper by asking further questions if we felt there may have been an issue or a problem with their order. This method also gave us inspiration for new innovative products such as the award-winning ‘Party in a Box’.

As the business world becomes increasingly competitive, we need to find ways to get closer to our customers. While collecting digital data is important, nothing can replace talking face-to-face,  real-time, conversations with the most important people in your business—your customers. Repeat business is the lifeblood of any business—especially retail business—and even though this takes time to call each customer, it’s worth it to build customer loyalty and repeat business.

How often do you talk to your customers?

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

“…I teach executives the importance of brands by using insights from outstanding global retailers to identify trends and innovations to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit in their own organisations…”

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Blu Bottle cafe on the High Line NYC x Christine Moody)

Solving problems through drawing

Brand + Business x Christine Moody* 

I have always been obsessed with stationery. This started with my love of art but also with the regular visits to my Dad’s office as a young girl. Pre-digital anything and pre-Officeworks, businesses were required to stockpile stationery—paper, pens, paperclips et al. This backroom treasure trove was heaven to me back then. My stationery and drawing obsession is useful in solving problems.

Whenever I start a new project or a new business idea, the first thing I do is start with a fresh new notebook and put the Dymo-taped project name on the front cover. This assists with organising the project by storing all relevant information in one place and also serves as the place to dream, draw, and solve problems regarding the project. Whenever I am trying to solve a problem, out comes the notebook and I draw “what I know to date” and write down the key points in each diagrammatic drawing. I have used technique this to solve diverse and complicated business and personal problems and even legal problems for law school assignments (my lawyer sister even commented: “Contract law never looked so beautiful!”).

…this is not an art project but rather a problem-solving exercise…

Many of you may be thinking you’re not ‘artistic’ or ‘creative’ but this is not an art project but rather a problem-solving exercise. A problem visualised in a one-page format forces you to edit down to include only the key information. It also allows you to circulate key information to all stakeholders. It’s about getting what’s in your head, out onto the peice of paper. Hand drawing aesthetic also helps to create a sense of a work-in-progress draft—helpful for early project discussions.

I find that problem solving is best done by hand (versus computer) because it’s the very act of putting pen to paper that assists with process. The other key thing is to keep the diagram current by redrawing and refining whenever the key information is updated. I remember buying a notebook for a specific matter (read ‘major problem’!) with ‘365’ on the cover—with one page dedicated to each day. What attracted me to this particular notebook was that I knew I needed at least 365 days to work through the problem but it gave me permission to give myself time to work it out.

This notebook went with me everywhere and I loved looking back over my drawings, notes, and diagrams as I gradually worked through things. I noticed that diagrams became more simplified and less complicated. This reflected the fact that I was solving the problem and had a created a clear strategy.

…a picture is worth a thousand words..

They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and a hand-drawn diagram communicates so much more than a word document ever could. Try it! I’d love to hear how you go!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: The Wrap Dress specifications for American Knitting Company NYC x Christine Moody)

Committing to paper

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

img_7261

A friend of mine sent me a podcast from The Tim Ferriss Show titled How to Design a Life. In it Tim interviewed Debbie Millman, a writer, educator, artist and designer. Why my friend thought I would be interested is three-fold: 1) Debbie’s brand and business background; 2) the title ‘How to Design a Life!’; and 3) Debbie is based in New York – one of my all time favourite cities. My friend was spot on with her recommendation – this podcast didn’t disappoint.

Debbie is best known as the host of ‘Design Matters‘, a podcast by Design Observer. She previously worked at Sterling Brands—working with brands such as Pepsi, Gillette, Colgate, Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, and Campbells—President Emeritus of AIGA and Fast Company based in New York City. She chairs the ‘Masters in Branding’ program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), is the Editorial & Creative Director of Print, and a blogger for Fast Company

What I found most intriguing about the podcast was Millman’s SVA student exercise, which turned out to be the perfect starting point for planning out the next few years of my life—work + play. Millman borrowed the exercise from another famous NY designer and her teacher, Milton Glaser—best known for the I LOVE (heart) NY graphic that adorns T-shirts all over NY and the world! The exercise is not only for design students but can be used by any person in any industry sector. It is perfect for anyone who has all the bits of the puzzle but still needs to put it all together.

Millman refers to Glaser’s New York Magazine (17 January 1972) article where he describes the exercise he gave his SVA students: “You have two minutes to write down everything you can think of, including where you live, money, career and where you see yourself in five years”.

You describe this in detail via ‘a day in the life of…’ and give detailed descriptions from the time you wake to the time you brush your teeth before getting into bed. Millman did this exercise with Glaser and continues to use it today with her students. This exercise is very powerful and in many instances can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. She said she often receives emails and notes from past students telling her how what they wrote down in her class came true.

I was a little hesitant to do the exercise as I have done this type of thing before. But this one was different as I wrote it in one sitting. I captured in the most minute detail, everything I did and saw that day, for example, what the sheets felt like when I woke up, what my bedroom looked like. The more you describe, the more real it becomes. But the idea of writing it down makes it tangible and you accountable. It also gives you a visual direction.

…Writing down a list of lifetime goals engages even the most dormant imagination and creates a tangible object…

I completed this exercise last week and what it did was create a vision for me (I used words + drawings) and made me commit myself and my future to paper. I intend to read it every 12 months to see how I am tracking!

Try it and report back to me in five years! Happy writing.

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading, multi-award winning brand strategists, and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits and a diverse range of other brands including The Wrap Dress, Poppy Cakes, Designer Law School, and Travel Stitch. With more than 35 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international high-profile brands with challenging and diverse range of strategic projects—including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, Terry White Chemists, International Cricket Council (UAE), Wrigleys (USA), and Become (USA)—to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. She is able to think strategically and beyond the obvious, to deliver outstanding insights to executives at Board, CEO, and Marketing Director level. She is also an author with her first book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs published in 2015, and is currently working on her second book, Smashing Plates. Christine has a passion for life-long learning and is currently studying law with a focus on the protection of a brand’s intellectual property.

For more information: email@christine.moody.com.au or +61 419 888 468.