Thursday, August 02, 2001

Brand Combat ~ by Gina Larson

When competing in a crowded marketspace, having a strong brand is essential. And protecting a strong brand through hard times is just as essential. These points and more were addressed at the Professionals in Media and Entertainment (PRIME) panel on Thursday, August 2nd. Founded by David Krell of Blue Stripe Media to media and entertainment professional educational and networking opportunities while having some fun.

The suit and tie crowd at PRIME's panel were able to let loose and have fun with a topic that can make even the most even-tempered marketer grumble - branding. The star-studded panel included Andrew Schmertz, anchor of Money Talks, Jim Brandt, vice president of, Ronald Coleman, a trademark lawyer and partner at Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, and Kenny Nova, director of sales and marketing for the NHL. The panel volleyed questions about when to fight trademark infringements and when to shift branding strategies. For instance, Nova pointed out that the NHL modified its tagline from "The Coolest Game on Earth," to a more demure "The Coolest Game," which takes the onus of going head-to-head with other leagues and just targets the sport's core fans.

Things got heated as the conversation started to move towards when a brand or trademark becomes larger than the company itself. For instance, does Nike have ultimate rights over the tiny three-word phrase "Just do it."? Can a children's hospital be sued for painting a mural of Mickey in its lobby? Coleman, who showed good-humor despite having to dole out his professional advice for free, definitively stated, "Regardless of how small the infraction, you owe it to the brand to protect it. The point of a brand is to tell the consumer where it comes from." More info.