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)

Why NYC is my inspiration?

Brand + Business x Christine Moody* 

I am often part of ABC Brisbane’s ‘Hidden Persuaders’ segment (part of Stephen Austin’s ‘Mornings‘ program) and I get to talk all things ‘brands’ as well as discuss the trends in one of my favourite cities, New York City! This week on ‘Hidden Persuaders’ we talked retail brands and I mentioned NYC for the food trends.

I am inspired by NYC not because I think Australia—and particularly Brisbane!—is not a great place, I believe that we need to get out of the country (literally or in our dreams via the pages of publications!) to see what is new that we can adapt and bring back and make it ours or to see how our products or services would perform on a global stage.

I constantly keep across the trends via blogs and social media including NYC, New York Post, and of course, The New York Times as well museum, galleries, and restaurant websites. As well as this I read the American versions of a range of diverse publications—from VOGUE (Hello Anna!) to Dwell.

I invest the time in doing this because it allows me to explore, dream, and be inspired by what is happening on the global stage. I lose myself in the pages of the new, the daring, and sometimes outright weird photographs.

*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: Yankees Stadium NYC x Christine Moody)

Committing to paper

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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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.

What’s in a name? Creating strategic trade marks

Brand + Business x Christine Moody, BA GradDip(Comn)(Dist) FAIM FDIA GAICD*

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In my previous blog, Managing and protecting your valuable assets: Your trade marks, I outlined the importance of protecting your valuable assets—your trade marks­—via formal registration and ongoing maintenance.

What I didn’t emphasise though is that protecting your brand identity actually starts well before the trade mark application process with IP Australia.

To offer the best protection and to create a valuable identity, you need to consider your overall business and brand strategy, preferably before a name is even chosen.

For new businesses or brands, this begins with understanding your business model and its structure. Holding a meeting with your accountant and lawyer will enable you to understand your options and which entity will own your intellectual property.

You need to understand the structure and the pros and cons of each structure as it may also affect your business and personal tax liabilities down the track. This is something that you need to revisit annually to make sure that your business structure suits your current and future requirements. Things change and your structures need to keep up your needs.

Once you understand the structure, and before any logo work commences, it’s best to check with ASIC and a domain hosting company, to ensure that the name you want for your business is available.

You should check the availability of both .com.au and .com for your website domains. After tackling the legal and accounting framework, it’s important to understand and document your company’s vision.

This is your unique story and the one that your staff, suppliers, and other stakeholders will hear over and over again. It is your ‘Why?’.

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name…

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name, so it’s imperative you choose the right name for the business. Ask yourself, ‘Will it allow me to pivot into new innovative areas of new products and services?’, ‘Is it easy to spell and say?’, ‘Does it need a tagline to help explain the name?’.

Only after completing these tasks should you think about designing your logo and brand identity. Even though the design phase is the exciting and fun bit of starting a business, it may all go to waste if you haven’t done your homework first.

Without strategic thinking and brand planning, you may not be able to register the business name and identity (the trade mark) you choose..And this means a missed opportunity to protect your valuable assets and your trade mark

*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: Yankees Stadium NYC x Christine Moody)

Managing and protecting your valuable assets: Your trade marks

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Brand + Business x Christine Moody, BA GradDip(Comn)(Dist) FAIM FDIA GAICD*

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% of the market value of S&P 500 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 the Brand and brand name is integral to how the 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 Trade Marks.

Yet protection of brand identity is often overlooked until it’s too late.

Protecting your brand identity
When businesses commence trading, business name and domain name registration is often in place but often Trade Mark registration isn’t considered important. Many business owners think that they will “get around to it later down the track”. This is not an issue until the business is sold or takes on new partners and investors, and during the due diligence process, someone asks “who owns the Trade Mark and is it registered?”.

There also seems to be a lot of confusion about the differences between registering a business name and registering a website domain name, versus Trade Mark registration…

There also seems to be a lot of confusion about the differences between registering a business name (via ASIC) and registering a website domain name, versus Trade Mark registration, which is a completely separate process. Registering your business name and a website domain are not enough to protect your brand name or identity. In Australia, brands and Trade Marks are registered via IP Australia.

Trade Mark registration
According to IP Australia, each year individuals and businesses lodge more than 134,500  (2015/16) Trade Mark Applications with potential brand names and brand identities. Often these applications are not accepted because they haven’t been screened prior to lodging and/or the Trade Marks are similar to those already registered.

To ensure your brand identity has the best chance of registration, there are four important stages prior to lodging your trade mark application:

  1. Gain an understanding of the strategic plan of the business and the industry sector as well as current and future plans—new products and services.
  2. Complete an initial search of similar brand identities in the same sector to ensure there is nothing similar—the point here is to create a unique identity to protect your commercial space in the market and enable you to differentiate your organisation from your competitors.
  3. It’s important not to fall in love with the first idea and keep an open mind as the brand name and the brand identity need to be timeless and adaptable to future business direction.
  4. The brand name is a strategic decision and consideration must be made to its translation across all customer ‘touch points’—from website to bricks-and-mortar stores.

How do you maintain brand protection?
Successful trade mark registration isn’t enough for long-term brand protection. We help
organisations leverage this important asset by:

  • Conducting regular brand audits: Formal registration means easier and more effective protection of your competitive market but your organisation must use the trade mark in its registered format on all existing and new communication touchpoints.
  • Creating education programs and workshops with staff and suppliers on the importance of asset protection: Workshops to ensure all employees, suppliers and other stakeholders understand their role in ensuring the proper use of the trade mark
  • Quarterly reviews of existing and new products and services to ensure ongoing protection and new applications are lodged in a timely manner: As new products and services come online, the process of protection should be repeated.

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Shanghai Flower Shop x Christine Moody)

 

 

Working with what you have

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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A friend of mine sent me an article on Captain Richard de Crespigny and the Singapore to Sydney ‘incident’ on Qantas flight A380 QF32. Much has been written about the incident since it occurred on 4 November 2010, but I had resisted reading anything more about it. I knew de Crespigny had written a well-received book called QF32 and it was a great story from a brand perspective. However I’m a nervous flyer (due to some scary flights) and since I didn’t want to know too much about the incident and what could go wrong, I had held off on reading QF32…until now.

Over the weekend I put aside my fears and read it. And while QF32 has lots of background on de Crespigny’s flying credentials and experience, and how Qantas is renowned for its safety record, what stood out for me was how de Crespigny faced the aftermath of the engine 2 explosion. The explosion sent shrapnel through the wing and fuselage, “creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded”(QF32). The aircraft had 469 people on board.

But rather than concentrate on what he didn’t have, de Crespigny focused on what he did. He looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have. This was such a good lesson. While most of us do not fly aircraft or have to make life or death decisions every day, the lesson of working with what you have is an important one. Any start-up brand going through tough times needs to utilise what they have and not worry about what they don’t have.

De Crespigny looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have.

We all have something to work with and we all have choices. Even when it seems all is lost and there is nothing we can do. When de Crespigny needed to focus and not let the stress take over, he took a deep breath and got on with it. He ensured that everyone kept calm —including himself! The other thing de Crespigny did was trust the people behind the Qantas brand. He knew how they reacted in a crisis and that they had his back. He knew that the Crisis Management team would be meeting and getting on with handling other aspects of the situation for the passengers and the crew. He could do his job, while the rest of the team did theirs.

QF32 is a must read—for everyone in business!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.