Wonderland Creative Blog III Intellectual Property
Like many global industries, golf has a vast spectrum of competence when it comes to the understanding of branding. There are clubs and resorts that are highly skilled at interpreting their brand across every factor of their business and there are others, without being unkind, who either don’t get the importance of a company identity or see it only as a ‘nice logo’ on a letterhead or front door. However, your company identity is very valuable – it promotes, sells and protects your business, if created in the right way. As we have said above, some businesses see the word ‘company identity’ as purely meaning ‘logo’.
But your company identity is a commercial property. It defines a business or a product and gives it identity and recognition. As such, part of the exploitation of that company identity is in how it is protected and that leads us into the area of intellectual property. Everyone is looking for a unique angle or an anchor that will bring members in and increase the general recognition of the club and its facilities in the public arena. To do this we have to understand intellectual property. These include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, trade dress and in some cases, trade secrets. Some people may look at the above sentence and think ‘what does any of that have to do with us?’ The answer is that the way you go about protecting your intellectual property, in relation to what you are trying to sell or promote to your clients and the outside world, will form part of the overall commercial framework of your business.
If your intellectual property is protected your business is almost certainly going to be more profitable. This is because the protection of your marks will prevent others from copying or stealing elements that make your club unique. From a commercial point of view protection of your mark means that you can explore the possibilities of creating or licensing products bearing your club’s mark. Protecting and understanding your intellectual property is a central, critical building block that creates a suite of tools and applications within your business that can increase revenues and expand the business.
The bottom line is that the club, the social hub it provides, the status it gives members and the course itself are the main selling points. However, there are many other areas of the club’s identity that can provide further income, and each of those areas need protecting.
That is part of the duty of care to the business. A well thought out and executed intellectual property strategy gives your club and company the power to take that identity and its assets around the world, extending not only its footprint, but your power and potential as a business to make revenue beyond the confines of the club itself. Your intellectual property is your shield against others trying to copy you and your most lucrative weapon when it comes to selling your brand and what it can do, both locally and internationally.
In these tough times we understand that clubs are mainly just looking to get people through the doors, paying dues and keeping the club functioning. However, if a club is ever going to be more than that then it has to have some commercial foresight. Once you have those members in are you giving them the best possible service in terms of making them feel like they are part of the club’s identity? Are you putting your identity out into the public arena in a way that will attract them to want to belong or be associated to your club.
In short, are you giving yourself enough commercial options simply beyond getting people through the door? To this degree our advice is to think about your company identity and make it wholly distinctive. Look at ways in which you would deploy that mark around the club, as well as for commercial purposes. Look to create other elements in design that make your club unique. For example, a tartan that may be unique to your club or an image that could be unique to your venue. Visualise how you want that mark to work for you within the business and where you see it attracting the eye out in the public domain. Think about what products the mark would be on (physical and virtual) and what those products have been created to do from a promotional and commercial point of view. Also start to think about where you can sell and license that mark. In essence, look both inside and outside your club’s front door and think about where your identity could take your business?
As a reference to this short piece please look at http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/ Wonderland Creative Consultantancy(wonderlandcc.com) has joined with the EGCOA to offer a consultancy service that will help you deliver a club/company brand that delivers! With over twenty five years experience in leisure brand development, working with businesses such as Virgin, Scottish Courage, Aston Martin, and within the world of golf, Tony Jacklin’s course design company,
we guarantee a level of service that will change your business. We also have a great deal of experience in brand protection, product development, restaurant and bar interior design, apparel, company overviews and TV/radio/media production, including electronic publishing. We are the same team that created and published The Bible Of GOLF. For consultancy and brand development please contact us via the form below. Alternatively, contact us via telephone on +44 (0) 1283 769 277, mentioning the EGCOA referral. A donation from any branding commission goes back to helping the EGCOA create more helpful services for its members.