Recently Inc.com published an article titled The Art and Science of Corporate Icons, which discusses Skeeter the squirrel, who is apparently the only squirrel in the world allergic to nuts. Skeeter is also the cartoon mascot for Skeeter Snacks, a line of nut-free cookies created by Dave Leyrer and Pete Najarian, whose target audience is parents with children who have allergies to nuts. The Inc.com article, discussed the creation of Skeeter from the drawing board to the finished product, including what aspects of this critter they wanted to depict their brand. They wanted the product to not only be affordable and appealing to kids but also to show that they were “more playful than other allergen-free brands.”
When speaking of a company’s brand, most people are referring to the company’s name or logo. But for many companies, it is the mascot that makes up the biggest and most memorable aspect of their brand, not only because it is recognizable to that company and it’s product but also because it gives the company an opportunity to showcase more of a personality behind its brand.
Promoting one’s Brand, including names, logos and mascots have become increasingly popular over the years, so much so that there are now board games and game apps dedicated solely to trivia of the recognition and knowledge of popular company brands. Needless to say, reading the article on Skeeter Snacks got us thinking about other iconic mascots that have been used by companies over the years to promote their brands and products. So, based on no scientific research, surveys or opinions other than our own, we compiled the following list of iconic characters that we feel are the best and most memorable, corporate character mascots of all times. And what better time than the start of a new year (okay, we are less than 5 weeks into one anyway) to add a new Best of the Best list into the mix.
Earlier this year, on April 26, 2012, Under Armour sued Body Armor Nutrition for trademark infringement in the United States Federal District Court for the District of Maryland.
In the Answer filed by Body Armor on July 12, 2012, there is a concerted attempt to make this case look like it is a classic trademark bullying matter. The “Preliminary Statement” begins with that theme and sets the tone: “This lawsuit is a prime example of trademark bullying by a corporate giant seeking to stifle an innovative start-up company.” The Answer goes on to say: ”Under Armour’s claim against BODYARMOR is without merit. It is impossible that consumers or retailers of either brand would confuse the two. Under Armour and BODYARMOR operate in disparate industries, produce distinctly unrelated products, and share no branding or logo similarities.”
But is that true? At the end of the day Under Armour may lose, but is this really a case of trademark bullying? We all know that these types of bullying cases do exist, and many a large entity will use their power and might to push around small companies. That disgusts me when I see it, but I don’t think that is what what is happening here.
No matter where we go these days, social media surrounds us. It seems everyone is saying, “Follow us on Twitter.” “Like us on Facebook.” “For More Information Scan Our QR Code.” Just this week alone, I have seen at least a dozen places in my everyday life where social media has come into the real world — at church, on my drive home from the airport I saw signs on the back of hotel shuttle vans and at my local coffee shop, to name a few. Social media is here to stay and businesses of all sizes know it. But what many smaller businesses do not know or care to realize is that there are several bad habits that still need to be broken in order to make the most out of their social media strategies. Following is a list of these common bad habits and what small business can do to break away from these same old mistakes.
Social Media Hard Sales
Social Media is not the place for hard selling. You may recall in a previous article, Top 10 Mistakes Businesses Make with Social Media, I listed hard selling as #5 on the list. But it seems that so many businesses cannot seem to break this very bad habit. I am not saying do not promote your businesses, but people do not want to be “sold to” anymore. With the Internet and social media making it so easy for consumers to go somewhere else, there are other, far more productive ways to promote your business than with the hard sell.
Mention counterfeiting and what many ordinary citizens immediately think about is counterfeit currency. Indeed, counterfeiting of money is one of the oldest crimes in history. Counterfeiting currency in the United States was a serious problem during the 19th century when banks issued their own U.S. currency, with approximately 1,600 state banks designing and printing their own notes. The adoption of a national currency in 1863 was believed to be the solution for the problem, but counterfeiting was so widespread that on July 5, 1865, the United States Secret Service was established to suppress counterfeiting. Although substantially curtailed, counterfeiting of money still remains a threat to the U.S. economy.
Mention counterfeiting and what a person who specializes in intellectual property thinks about is the growing amount of counterfeit goods that flood the market costing hundreds of billions of dollars of damage to the economy.
Criminals on all levels — from opportunistic, small-time thieves to major drug cartels — are finding that the penalties for intellectual property crimes pale in comparison to the penalties they would receive for trafficking drugs and engaging in other illicit activities. At the same time, the profit margin for counterfeit software, as well as for other counterfeit goods, is extremely high. So the combination of great riches, relatively low penalties and a low likelihood of being caught and you can see why criminal enterprises, including terrorist networks, are becoming major players in the counterfeit software black-market.
Social Media is not a fad. It is not something that is going to go away nor is it going to be replaced by something bigger and better. Most businesses have embraced social media and all that it has to offer. Perhaps you, yourself have taken a ride on the social media bandwagon. But, even if you have a well-established social media presence, are you really getting the most out of your online relationships? Are you missing opportunities to truly leverage your business relationships online in order to reap bigger rewards and sales in the real world? Following are 5 easy ways that you can take to utilize your online business and real-world relationships to increase your overall social media ROI.
1. Give and Receive On-Line Introductions
Don’t just wait for others to approach you through social media. Until you have established your online brand, telling others who you are, what you do and what you have to offer, you cannot expect others to find you. You are always your own best advertiser. You need to reach out to everyone you know and want to know to get the word out. With social media, as well as in the real world, you do not necessarily have to approach people blindly. Rather start utilizing the business relationships you have developed both off line and on over the years to meet those you would potentially like to work with.
On January 12, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, more commonly known simply as ICANN, began accepting applications for new gTLDs. Until March 29, 2011, entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and communities around the world can apply to introduce and operate a generic Top-Level Domain of their own choosing.
This is not the same as registering a domain name. Applicants for a new gTLD is, in fact, applying to create and operate a registry business supporting the Internet’s domain name system. gTLD stands for “generic top-level domain” and is an Internet extension such as .com, .net or .org. Currently there are approximately two dozen gTLDs, but as the result of ICANN’s decision to expand the number of gTLDs there could be hundreds in the not too distant future.
If you are a small business owner, you are located in a small personal office or you work from home, you probably use either a cell phone or personal landline as your business phone. When you call a potential client, what shows up on their called ID? What do potential clients hear when they call and want to leave you a voicemail? What if they simply want to know your hours of operation or fax number? You may not realize this but your telephone system’s features, including your caller ID display and voicemail greeting, have a major impact on how others see your brand.
Unless you are part of a company that has the resources to allow for a rather expensive professional telephone system, you probably have just the basics. Most small businesses do not have the resources or even the need for such an elaborate telephone system. But it would be nice, right? So chances are you are using the voicemail system offered as part of your landline or personal cell phone package.
It seems like everyone is online these days, male, female, young and old. And tapping into this vast audience is a low-cost, highly effective way to launch a small-business brand into the global marketplace. Building your brand through social media allows you to cultivate new relationships, increase brand awareness, develop customer loyalty and make word-of-mouth marketing go viral. Although social media seems relatively easy to get started with, it takes strategy and consistency to build your brand online. The most important thing to keep in mind while doing so is no matter how big the company you work for is, whether you work for yourself or for someone else, you still have your own personal brand.
But what exactly does it mean to have a personal brand? How can one use social media to represent a larger company or firm yet still maintain a personal brand? Well if you have read my article With Social Media, YOU are Your Own Brandpublished in June of 2011, I explained that although you may be using social media to promote the offerings of the company or firm you work for, large or small, you are doing so as an individual. Building upon this previous article, below are 5 simple steps you can take to build your own personal brand using social media.
When it comes to social media and business these days it seems that, “Everyone is doing it.” In fact, you may have already dabbled in social media a bit yourself. The question is are you really doing all you can do to make the most out of your social media strategy? Are you taking advantage of the various available platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites? Are you ready to take control and tap into the power of social media?
One of the best things about social media is that you don’t need to have a big marketing budget to benefit from the different ways that social media can propel your business. But you do need to be committed and have a strategy. If you are not going to hire a consultant to assist you, then you will need to invest the time to do things yourself, which is fine so long as you actually do it!
Since we are nearing the end of 2011, in order to get you motivated moving into 2012, I thought I would share with you a list of “Social Media Resolutions” that you should consider implementing in your 2012 marketing and brand building social media campaigns.
Having a brand is not just for big corporations and well-known products. Big businesses, small businesses, law firms, entrepreneurs and anyone else wanting to make a name for themselves can do so by building a brand. The way you portray your business, your products and yourself; in other words your image, is your brand.
Thanks to social media everyone has the ability to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. But if you want to exploit social media you need to have an effective strategy. It does not take an enormous amount of time each day. In fact with only 15 minutes per day, you can really make quite an impact. Like everything you hope to succeed with in life, it does take planning and forethought.
Here are suggestions on how you might be able to use social media to develop your brand, monitor quality, engage customers, expand upon ideas and connect with others within your industry.
When I speak at events, one of the most common questions I get from professionals is, “What is the purpose of Twitter.” Those of us who use Twitter know what the purpose of Twitter is and how to use it though. But for many, the concept of micro-blogging is still quite a mystery. Once you understand what to tweet, how to tweet and how much to tweet, you are quickly able to make excellent connections, increase your website statistics and search engine ranking, find some of your best brand advocates, and benefit quickly and efficiently from word of mouth marketing. In fact, next to YouTube, micro-blogging on Twitter is one of the quickest ways for information about you, your brand, your business, your products and your services to go viral.
Before one can feel comfortable on Twitter, they must first understand the purpose of Twitter, realize the potential of Twitter and learn how they can use Twitter to meet their overall marketing objectives. Following, I will discuss and demystify 5 of the top myths about Twitter use for business and give you pointers on how you can get the most out of your Twitter account.
It seems that no matter where you go these days, the likelihood is high that you will see a “Free Wi-Fi” sticker on the front door of the establishment. Whether you are going for coffee, meeting a colleague for lunch, stopping at a rest stop or waiting for an airplane, you can pretty much bet that you will be able to check your email and surf the web while you are there. But providing customers with free Internet access is just the beginning. Some of the world’s most well known brands are aggressively using social media as a marketing tool.
Many of the largest and most recognizable restaurant brands are starting to realize the power and potential of social media, not only for the use of their clientele but also in getting their message out in new and innovative ways. They have begun to realize that building larger online communities equates to higher numbers of restaurant sales. For this reason, media outlet Nation’s Restaurant News teamed up with an analytics and digital branding firm, DigitalCoCo to create the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI) highlighting the industry’s Top 100 each quarter.
How to Write a Patent Application is a must own for patent attorneys, patent agents and law students alike. A crucial hands-on resource that walks you through every aspect of preparing and filing a patent application, from working with an inventor to patent searches, preparing the patent application, drafting claims and more. The treatise is continuously updated to address relevant Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decision impacting patent drafting.
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