Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monetizing Your Brand

It has been more than a year since the Nation Branding website published their article "Brand Jamaica: Copyrighted". Sparked by discussion generated by our earlier blog titled "Licensing Brand Jamaica" we are compiling a list of some Jamaican entities we think might be prime candidates for licensing as an outgrowth of their own brands and by extension that of the Jamaican brand.

From the "Brand Jamaica: Copyrighted" article we detect that government administrators are aggressively on the defensive while private enterprise is challenged with how to monetize the brand. It is true that the process begins with seeking copyright, trademark or patent protection for the property which then needs to be followed up with a number of other steps. Protection is good but there should be a perceptible balance. The response in the following extract explains why:
Last month [September 2009], the government introduced a National Branding Committee. Its task could include researching whether the word jerk, which refers to both the seasoning and a specific way of cooking chicken and pork, can be protected.

Even the name Jamaica is being considered for a trademark, officials say. But [Simon] Anholt, the international image expert, said trying to legally protect the nation’s assets through branding is a “dangerous” idea that is ill-advised. “It’s surely more important for Jamaica to work on ways of leveraging and profiting from its wonderful image,” he said, “rather than dreaming up ways of preventing others from doing so.”


The value of the brand to Jamaica is having manufactured products with Jamaican names and cultural content marketed and delivered globally. Protection on the part of any agent of the state should be with the explicit understanding that the rights will be readily made available to anyone subject to them meeting certain fair and sensible criteria, irrespective of nationality.

Local brands owned by private businesses will need to start doing some basic things like protecting their trademarks. In going forward it is advised that they seek the professional advice of expert agents as they can help to, brainstorm opportunities, scope the market, and develop opportunities among other things.

Licensing is not for everyone but with the right partners who understand your products you will get ahead in the business much more quickly than you would on your own steam.

Would your brand make our list? We would like to hear from you.


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Nation Branding

Simon Anholt's explanation of nation branding is sure to be a disappointment to well-meaning civil servants and "fans" in search of the next big thing to save the day. Simon Anholt is the gentleman who coined the term "nation branding" in the 1990s and has since traveled the world promoting the concept. The disappointment is his website explains that his work "has nothing to do with marketing, advertising or public relations," because "places can’t construct or manipulate their images with advertising or PR, slogans or logos". I wish to quote the rest of the story at length from his own website:

The only sure way places can change their images is by changing the way they behave: they need to focus on the things they make and do, not the things they say. Simon Anholt’s approach of Competitive Identity, (which is also the title of one his books), is about helping countries, cities and regions to earn a better and stronger reputation in the following ways:

* through courageous and enlightened social, economic, environmental and foreign policies;
* through the dynamic development of tourism, foreign investment and exports;
* through carefully chosen international cultural, sporting and political events;
* through improved cultural and academic relations with other countries;
* through a strategic commitment to international development and poverty reduction;
* through productive engagement with multilateral institutions, regional organizations and with NGOs at home and abroad;
* through effective coordination between government, industry and civil society;
* through enhanced public and private diplomacy overseas;
* through a visionary long-term approach to innovation, investment and education.

If this is so then where does that leave the well-meaning civil servants and "fans" of brand Jamaica? The experience suggests that it won't be so easy to package and promote Jamaica's challenges away without serious commitment from any incumbent political directorate. It appears stakeholders are called upon to face the real hard issues of policy development, management, and financing among others. To my mind this explains a lot about why brand Jamaica still languishes.

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