With a front row seat to view the emergence of some of today’s best ideas, ad agencies are capitalizing on ground floor opportunities by launching internal funds to invest in emerging brands. Entrepreneurs with great ideas, but little knowledge of reaching their market, are finding this as a valuable way to engage the expertise of the agencies while making them stakeholders rather than merely vendors. AdAge has their finger on the pulse of this emerging trend. Please take the time to view their recent article — we loved it!
In today’s world, relevant sales leads can be searched across the Internet and found in the most unexpected places: lists of group members, participants at events, recipients of awards, industry rankings, local listings are all publicly available for entry into your own database. For most smaller to small-medium companies, e-marketing, cold calling, cold mailings and cold e-mailing, as well as on-line and off-line social activities, are still the most effective and most cost-efficient ways of building a pipeline of leads and new prospects.
Lists that can be purchased from lead resellers such as InfoUSA and Superpages are not current, a waste of money, and create embarrassing ROI for all of us.
To keep the labor cost of data entry down, we have been testing the offshore companies that specialize in this function. Recently we have found very reliable and very inexpensive labor (in Pakistan, as it happens) who can take on multiple simple data entry projects for us and our clients. This means that any list, book, certain search criteria, links to zip code-generated searches, etc., can be cost-efficiently transcribed into a spreadsheet or a CSV file that can be used for export to any type of broadcasting, publishing or shipping application.
Here’s an example that makes the point: We began working with a national airline from a South American country 3 months ago. Despite having been in business for 54 years, they only had 400 names in their database, which meant that we had to start from scratch in building them a mailing list. Through research we found a zip code-generated database via a certain Tourism Authority, but despite several attempts to contact the association we were never able to speak with someone who could tell us how we could purchase the list directly from them. We then engaged our team in Pakistan to manually enter each zip code between 10,000 up to zip code 99,000 resulting in the full contact data (including e-mails) for 4,000 certified expert travel and tour operators in the United States with a specific interest in our client’s key destination.
In this case we found a database where each zip code had to be manually entered, and if registered travel and tour operators existed under this zip code our data entry team would copy and paste the information into a simple spreadsheet.
It’s hard to overstate how valuable these qualified contact lists can be. We suggest you speak with your team to learn if they can help us help you increase the size of your e-marketing/ mailing lists on a weekly basis. Speak with them about the importance of making it a habit for each employee to provide you with or enter their leads into your company’s CRM system (such as Highrise) or submit ideas, printed lists, and new search criteria ideas to the person in charge of marketing.
There are no short cuts in building great businesses, and it is the small, tedious and time consuming activities that generate results every time.
Wellient empowers you to take a proactive role in your daily health routine. Working for you around the clock with personalized medication reminders, adverse interaction alerts, automatic prescription renewal counts, daily follow-up upon hospital discharge, health test monitoring, portable health records, emergency response in case of accident, medication price comparisons and traditional and non-traditional medical information tailored to what you say is important to you. Stay on track, be healthier, feel better, stress less and save time and money. Wellient is easy and low-tech for you to use, but high-tech and robust behind the scenes.
By launching a comprehensive new platform of health management and information services, they are transforming your medical history into usable and potentially life-saving information. It is no secret that a bewildering and fast-growing amount of data is available on the Web. A filtering service focused on the most reliable sources of information is needed. A service that is built around your specific needs. We are out to help change attitudes and behavior in a friendly, private and easy way.
Most people have a difficult time writing content for their websites, let alone email blasts. The easiest and simplest way to get your word on the email wire is to create a digest of your website’s content. Content? Yes… Blog posts. Wait a minute, he said blog posts. Yes ladies and gentleman, you work tirelessly to do a great job for your clients and run a ship shape company. We can hear you say, “I don’t have time for to write blog posts.” Many people try writing to their blog, then stop. The common thought is that the effort does not equate to $$$$. Below are some indirect ways that writing to your website will help with your business.
- It makes you a thought leader, a knowledge powerhouse, with the potential of being perceived a leader in your field.
- It shows the rest of the world that your doors are open for business. Imagine going into a store and all their products are covered with dust. That’s how it looks when you have a blog post or news item dated 2007!
- Allow search engines to get more link juice by finding relevant content and associate that content to your business.
If you commit yourself to write at least one blog post a week. You will have 4 great articles to post in your newsletter. It’s that easy. Aim high, even if you only write two posts, that’s great content for your newsletter.
When you are ready to send your blast. Get a small excerpt from each post, the title and a read more link pointing to your single blog post.
Here are all the milestones you reached:
- This exercise keeps your website current.
- Not only will you get traffic from the search engines, but the newsletter will remind your prospects and contacts about your existence.
- If some of your blog posts are helpful tips (like this one) you pay it forward.
- And finally, the most effective e marketing systems will provide you with an abundance of intelligence and analytics about who actually read your newsletter, who they forwarded it to and what they clicked on in the newsletter.
Like greatest showman on Earth, P.T. Barnum, who turned 200 years on July 5th 2010, always used to say: “What happens when you stop promoting ………absolutely nothing”
Re-Tooling the Corporate Structure of Management
Market forces are at work as the traditional corporate structure of management is being reviewed and re tooled in an ever changing environment. Over the last few years many corporate management structures have been compared to the U.S. Government – a large bureaucratic mess that is not in touch with reality.
Today with the increasing size of most large corporations it’s become more difficult for them to evolve and take risk when it comes to incorporating new technologies and ideas into their corporate management structure. No one wants to rock the boat. Change can be scary, cost money, and might not work. On the flip side change can still be scary, save a company lots of money, and can open doors that lead to new products or services.
We encourage companies to set aside a portion of money to be invested in small businesses in all kinds of sectors. The amount of money invested in each business can be as little as $20,000. We consider it R&D for management. Just one breakthrough from a company you invested in links you to a new solution to make your corporate management structure more efficient and profitable. Additionally, being on the ground floor provides a first mover advantage as you take this new concept out to market.
Kompani Group believes companies must be flexible by allowing new ideas and solutions that are not the norm to be introduced into the corporate structure. It can be uncomfortable at times but when you’re too comfortable with status quo you’re probably not growing and someone else is going to sneak up behind you and then leave you in the dust.
Kompani Group has launched another incubator brand, and we named it Kompete because the space they operate in is extremely competitive and the services offered by Kompete can be vital to any company which finds itself in its own very competitive business environment.
This new web design and online marketing company is a new breed of no-nonsense interactive company, where functionality, cost effectiveness, design and strategic ideas are guaranteed. Kompete’s mission is to always to seek to empower the client to manage their websites in-house, thus allowing Kompete to focus its efforts on delivering online results for the client’s business. Their unquenchable thirst for new ideas and tireless advocacy of working smart assure the clients that their online solutions will outperform their competition’s online efforts, today and in the future.
Kompete offers cost effective smart web site packages for any size budget, and their crew is passionate about creating winning online solutions for any type of business model. Their creative, technologically advanced, and flexible interactive solutions will stand the test of time, propel lead generation, online orders and impress visitors. At Kompete you always win, because they understand that their success is only through their clients’ success.
One of the first challenges entrepreneurs face in building their brand, regardless of the industry, is selecting an appropriate name to identify and distinguish their products or services in the marketplace.
That is the principal function of trademarks – a unique identifier that signals to potential consumers the source of particular goods or services. Entrepreneurs and prospective business owners must be savvy from the start in choosing a name that not only accurately reflects their brand aesthetic but that also serves as a trademark, because all names are not created equal. There are some names that make excellent brand identifiers and work very well as trademarks, and others that do not work as well and may not qualify for trademark protection before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
So how do you select the right name for your brand? Here are a few Dos and Don’ts for choosing a truly distinctive trademark that will stand out among consumers and sail smoothly through the USPTO registration process.
1. Do Select a Fanciful or Arbitrary Mark: These types of trademarks are accorded the highest level of trademark protection by the USPTO because they are the most distinctive. Fanciful marks are picked right from one’s imagination, perhaps derived from another word or language or an amalgam of letters that have never been used before so they are novel in identifying any kind of goods or services. Arbitrary marks make use of known words or phrases to identify completely unrelated goods or services. These marks are highly distinctive and also work well as trademarks. Examples of fanciful and arbitrary marks include CLOROX® and APPLE®, respectively.
2. Don’t Choose a Merely Descriptive Mark: Words or phrases that simply describe your goods or services are not very effective as trademarks and are highly scrutinized before the USPTO. These marks are “merely descriptive” and often do not function as trademarks because they lack sufficient distinctiveness for consumers to associate the mark with one particular source of the goods or services. Consumers generally do not associate descriptive marks as a unique source identifier but rather as a description of what they are purchasing. Avoid marks that directly tell consumers what you’re offering. Don’t brand your highly innovative 360° rotating vacuum cleaner as “Rotating Ball Vacuum”, consider instead something like “DYSON®.”
3. Do Select a Suggestive Mark: One way to avoid a “merely descriptive” issue is to select a mark that is suggestive of what you are offering. These marks do not immediately call to mind what your goods or services are, but require some additional thought or leap of imagination. Suggestive marks are fairly strong trademarks and are generally allowed protection by the USPTO. Examples of suggestive marks include “RAYBAN®“ or “ALEVE®“.
4. Don’t Use Your Name or Names of Places: Proper names and surnames are generally not accepted as trademarks unless they have acquired distinctiveness for particular goods or services in the marketplace. This usually requires years of use and extensive marketing to establish the name as a brand and not merely a surname among consumers. Geographic names are also heavily scrutinized because the USPTO is reluctant to grant applicants exclusive rights in such names. Avoid marks that are geographically descriptive of your products, or, depending on the goods or services offered, marks that are geographically descriptive and likely to cause confusion among consumers as to the place of origin of the goods or services. Geographic marks are permissible when used in an arbitrary manner or otherwise unlikely to impact customer purchasing decisions regarding place of origin. Examples include “VINTAGE HAVANA®“ or “100% CAPRI”. The foregoing should not be confused with regional origin marks, such as “CHAMPAGNE” from France or “PARMA” ham.
Choose your brand name wisely. It is the means by which consumers will recognize and ultimately purchase what you are selling, whether it’s cars or canned fruit. Select a name that is unique, memorable and that stands out in the minds of your target customers. For more trademark insights and examples of fanciful, arbitrary, suggestive, descriptive and generic marks, visit the Frequently Asked Questions section at www.FlatFeeTrademark.com.
Myth no. 1 – Once you register a trademark you own it forever and for everything
Myth no. 2 – Registering a domain name offers all sorts of legal protection
Myth no. 3 – You can save money if you conduct the search yourselves.
Trademark Tip – Top 5 Reasons to Register Your Brand Name or Logo.
There a myriad reasons to protect your trademark, brand name, logo or slogan through federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Here are just a few of the top reasons why you should seek federal protection for your mark:
1. Trademarks are a part of your company’s intellectual property portfolio. It could very well be one of your most valuable business assets, albeit an intangible one. Trademarks can be accorded a value separate and distinct from other assets in your company. To illustrate, the Coca-Cola® trademark alone is purportedly valued at $70 billion. This doesn’t include other assets such as trucks, manufacturing and bottling facilities, etc., just the Coke® brand. The value of a registered trademark may be listed as a line item asset for companies seeking to attract potential investors or obtain financing.
2. A federally registered trademark grants you nationwide priority claim of ownership to the mark. A registered trademark provides constructive notice to prospective users and potential infringers of your claim of ownership to the mark. In the event of a dispute concerning rights to use a particular mark, the registered trademark owner will have the benefit of the doubt vis-à-vis a non-registered user of the same mark for similar or related products.
3. In the event of any unauthorized use or potential infringement of a registered trademark, the trademark owner is entitled to seek redress in federal court. The registered trademark owner can bring suit in federal court for trademark infringement and prohibit the alleged infringing mark from being used in commerce in a manner that causes confusion with the registered trademark. Moreover, trademark owners may seek three times their actual damages suffered as a result of the infringement (triple damages).
4. If you are interested in obtaining international trademark protection for your brand, you will need to first have a registered or pending application filed with the USPTO. A federally registered trademark is the basis for U.S. trademark owners to seek international trademark registration. Upon filing your application, the USPTO assigns your mark a serial number (or a registration number, once registered). This number is used to submit an international trademark application under the Madrid Protocol System for International Trademark Registration.
5. Registered trademarks may be filed with the U.S. Customs Service to prohibit the importation of infringing foreign goods that may bear your mark or something similar (“knock-offs”). Many illegal imports attempt to trade off the established brand value of famous or well-known marks. Trademark registrations may be placed on record with the Customs Service so infringing products entering the country may be flagged, seized and possibly destroyed.
So there you have it, the Top Five reasons to protect your brand name or logo through federal trademark registration. There are other reasons, of course, including protecting your brand value and hard earned marketing dollars. For more information concerning trademark law, the trademark registration process, or for questions concerning your particular mark or brand, please contact one of our FlatFee Trademark attorneys at 1.800.769.7790 or [email protected] .
On May 16-19, 2010 the National Business Incubator Association, NBIA, celebrated its first 25 years by organizing the International Conference on Business Incubation in Orlando, Florida. Amongst the more than 500 business incubators from all over the globe were 5 Chilean business incubators who all decided to visit Kompani Group to explore synergies between their non-profit incubator outfits and a for-profit business and strategy incubator like Kompani Group. The explorations trip for the 5 Chilean business incubators was funded by the Chilean Development Minister, and included Mr. Eduardo Aranda M from Gerente Incubadora de Negocios in Santiago, Mr. Etienne Choupay Magna from Pontificia Universidad Catolica De Valparaiso, Mr. Diego Gonza’lez Carvallo from Austral Incuba – Universidad Austral de Chile, Mr. Enrique Roma’n Gonza’lez from Penanova Incubadora De Negocios and finally Alvaro Bustos Torrebalance of SantiagoInnova.
For more information about the NBIA and this year’s International Conference on Business Incubation please visit http://www.nbia.org/events/conf2010/index.php , this year’s conference host University of Central Florida’s business incubation program at www.incubator.ucf.edu , or visit this year’s title sponsor Florida high tech Corridor Council www.floridahightech.com
Case study: Blackband project
Owner: Camacho Cigars, Authors: Dylan Austin, Gianni D’Alerta
Before we started this project we planned and built the following two sites for Camacho cigars – www.camachocigars.com and www.socialcigar.com (at first we did not reveal that Camacho was behind this site). Through the two sites we built a subscriber list of 4,500 people in less than one year. Since then we have also built www.room101cigars.com, and we are currently working on a new revolutionary social networking platform and corporate site for Camacho Cigars/Davidorff.
Kickoff of the BlackBand project:
To start off, here is an excerpt from the press release, post project:
“The campaign objectives for Camacho included the creation of an engaging, opt-in viral marketing campaign, a successful permission–marketing opportunity as an outlet to sample yet to be released products. A four-part web-series was created without mention of Camacho until the final “reveal” episode. The viewers followed the satirical Independent Cigar Review Bureau, a fictional agency, whose sole purpose was to educate the world about cigar selection, as they used humorous, guerilla-style tactics to enlighten three characters that represented the most common cigar misconceptions”
- We launched the site with this page: http://www.blackbandproject.com/home-temp/
- We blasted Camacho’s mailing list of 1000 and the social network we created while I was at Propeller of 3500 people, not as Camacho but as the fictional company. The amazing thing was that the idea was so interesting that we had a very low spam report. We also ran rich media banner ads that actually played a trailer of the project on the websites the banners resided.
- Once the person signed up they would get one episode a week that would build upon the myths and misconceptions of cigar smoking. The Buzz just keep mounting… people passing the links to their friends… it was huge… in the online cigar world.
- After they registered they immediately received their first “mission” http://www.blackbandproject.com/d57s-1/
- A week after that http://www.blackbandproject.com/6ku6-2/
- A week later http://www.blackbandproject.com/hr4s-3/
- And then the conclusion http://www.blackbandproject.com/b7x3-conclusion/
- We gained 15,500 new subscribers! With that permission to market to them anything in the future. They are already expecting more from Camacho, and we won’t disappoint them.
- Every cigar website was buzzing about the project, we even got more hits on our Black Band Project site in one month that Cigar Aficionado.
- After the last video was sent… a month later people got 3 cigars in the mail. So for a whole month, every week… the conversations where about the black band project. Then when the cigars shipped, another huge buzz.
“From day one, the campaign captivated the cigar industry and generated sweeping buzz across the country, with thousands of cigar enthusiasts discussing who was behind “The Black Band Project” on social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and cigar-industry message boards and blogs.
- 15,000 leads
- 4,000 people got the cigars (people who watched all the videos)
- 15% overall sales increase after the launch of the new product.