INTA’s first-ever Branding and Social Media Conference, which took place in Chicago last month, featured a range of cutting-edge presentations on the rapidly evolving landscape of branding. As brand strategies have shifted from traditional licensing and advertising methods to digital, Internet and social media platforms, trademark and enforcement strategies have struggled to keep up with a vastly expanding, interactive audience.
To help brand owners cope with this expansion, panelists at the conference shared best practices across a number of areas. On day one, panelists addressed topics such as the changing role of brands in an international and online marketplace, key elements of a successful branding strategy, quality control issues in 21st-century licenses and brand extensions through licensing (with leading brand owners Procter & Gamble and Caterpillar providing insight into how they promote their brands). A number of panels addressed online contests, sponsorships and other promotions in the context of social media, including “dos and don’ts” for steering clear of legal prohibitions.
Day two began with an interesting panel discussion of celebrity and endorsement branding campaigns, focusing on issues that are unique to those campaigns, such as testimonials, control of the script, morals clauses and social media as a key advertising platform for celebrities. The panel focused on the role of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and related regulatory bodies in enforcing advertising laws as they interact with social media and nontraditional forms of branding.
The conference’s keynote speaker was John V.O. (Jack) Kennard, whose speech was titled “Lifelong Friendships: The Story of Tennessee Whiskey, U.S. Trademark Law, Prohibition, The Rat Pack and Global Licensing.” Mr. Kennard had senior executive responsibility during his tenure at Brown-Forman Corporation for the well-known JACK DANIEL’S brand.
Mr. Kennard said that social media should serve to amplify a brand’s message, but that it is crucial for the brand itself to set the core message. He acknowledged that trademark practitioners help to secure and protect important brand rights so that the marketing stewards can tell the stories that promote great brands, and he graciously thanked the audience for their work in building and protecting brands. “You do this extremely well, and yes, the world is a better place because you are here,” Mr. Kennard said.
Chicago Students Get a Taste of Unreal
The day before the Branding and Social Media Conference, INTA volunteers and staff, representatives of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and 107 students from three Chicago-area high schools gathered at the Hotel Sax Chicago for an event aimed at educating teens about counterfeits. Street Law and the Constitutional Rights Foundation provided key support in planning for the event. The day included presentations by brand owners, trademark practitioners, two ICE special agents and interactive student activities. For more on the event and how to become part of INTA’s Unreal Campaign, visit the INTA Blog.
Also, be sure to join Unreal at INTA’s Leadership Meeting in Miami, where volunteers and staff will host 50 local students for an educational event on Friday, November 15.
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2013 International Trademark Association