2021 Leadership Meeting Regales Attendees with Agenda Built on Timely Theme

Published: May 19, 2021

Kimberly M. Maynard Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz New York, New York, USA INTA Bulletins—North America Subcommittee

Sara J. Crisafulli

Sara J. Crisafulli Loeb & Loeb LLP New York, New York, USA INTA Bulletins—North America Subcommittee

The 2021 Leadership Meeting, held virtually from May 3 to 7, captivated attendees with robust educational programming and Business Development opportunities built around the theme of resilience, growth, and the future.

INTA created the program to reflect how the global trademark industry and profession are changing, and how brand professionals must show resilience, especially during these challenging times, continually grow in their roles, and project themselves into the future. INTA Bulletins Committee members were on hand to cover several of the sessions.

The Brands, They Are A-Changin’: Brand Relevance in Today’s Culturally Shifting Marketplace
Kimberly M. Maynard

Times certainly are changing! In the wake of an incredibly tumultuous year, participants in this session gained insight into how brands are adapting in response to global social justice and health movements.

Mary Leheny (Verizon Media, USA) surveyed the evolution of several iconic U.S. brands, noting the retirement of brand names and imagery amid protests against systemic racism. For example, Quaker Oats’ AUNT JEMIMA is now PEARL MILLING COMPANY, Mars Incorporated’s UNCLE BEN’S has become BEN’S ORIGINAL, and Edy’s ESKIMO PIE is EDY’S PIE.

In changing a brand name, Ms. Leheny highlighted the role of trade dress in maintaining brand loyalty. “[W]hen consumers go down the aisle, the name will have changed …  but everything else about the packaging will be the same” and “the product will look very familiar to them,” she observed.

Josh Burke (General Mills, USA) discussed major changes made to General Mills’ brands as consumers have become more health conscious as well as small tweaks to the characters (such as rebranding cereals and evolving the Trix Rabbit and Betty Crocker) that adorn much of General Mills’ packaging and marketing materials. Recognizing the challenges of protecting ever-evolving brands in a global market, Mr. Burke recommended relying on copyright to protect minor variations in brands that may not be significant enough to justify their own trademark registration.

Panelists also discussed the role licensing can play in brand expansion. To this end, Stu Seltzer (The Seltzer Licensing Group, USA) advised that “trademark licensing provides a sustainable competitive advantage.” He recommended that brands interested in licensing consider expanding their offerings across an industry (such as lawn care or gardening), and then presenting their products as a package to consumers.

Build Your Professional Profile: LinkedIn and Resume Building
Kimberly M. Maynard

With many companies suspending hiring in 2020, 2021 is more promising for those interested in a new job or career change. During one of INTA’s Business Development sessions, INTA’s Global Director of Employee Experience, Kelli Kombat, provided helpful tips for brand professionals in the market for a new position, or simply wishing to improve their networking.

For those drafting resumés, Ms. Kombat recommended listing accomplishments instead of tasks and including hobbies or volunteer positions, especially those showing a leadership role.

Turning to networking, she reminded attendees not to overlook the “elevator pitch,” a 60-second synopsis of who you are and what you do, and why this is important. The pitch should convey passion for what you do and why you do it, because “people remember passion.”

In addition, she said, whether interviewing or networking, “drive your own CAR”:

  • Context: Provide context for your accomplishments. What were the facts and circumstances surrounding your actions?
  • Action: Highlight the actions you took. Why were you critical to the solution?
  • Results: Accentuate the results of your actions, and the impact they had.

In closing, Ms. Kombat reminded attendees to apply these tools to their everyday networking, both in-person and online, through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.

Build Your Professional Profile: Financial Literacy
Sara J. Crisafulli

Understanding brand valuation and financial literacy are important elements of an effective brand protection strategy. In an interactive Business Development session, David Haigh (Brand Finance plc, UK) instructed participants on reading financial statements and understanding the different approaches to “brand valuation,” which assesses monetary value, and “brand evaluation,” which analyzes non-monetary value.

Mr. Haigh explained that there are three essential elements of brand valuation: legal analysis, market analysis, and financial analysis. “Brand value is calculated by estimating brand strength, royalty relief, and cash flows attributable to brand, and finally, discounting it to present value,” he said.

Through a case study on the Coca-Cola brand, Mr. Haigh demonstrated how to apply the different valuation methods—cost approach, market approach, and income approach.

Following the presentation, attendees convened at roundtables to discuss:

  1. Where and how lawyers should be involved in the brand evaluation and valuation processes.
  2. The situations in which a lawyer would need a financial appraisal of a brand.
  3. Legal issues and risks that could affect a brand valuation result.
  4. Key concepts, areas, or applications of brand valuation where you think lawyers need more formal education.

To learn more about brand valuation read INTA’s 2020 Brand Value Special Task Force Report.

LEAD: Leadership Through Disruptive Times
Sara J. Crisafulli

Amid a global pandemic, businesses of all types and sizes have been confronted with disruptive challenges. Navigating through uncharted territory in these rapidly changing times takes strategy, adaptability, and guts.

In this session, industry leaders on the front lines of disruptive change spoke to participants about the key qualities of effective leadership. Ulrich Kreutzer (CBDL Patentanwaelte, Germany) moderated the discussion.

The job of lawyers is “to keep the company innovating at a pace that disrupts the normal status quo and truly delivers remarkable solutions,” said Kirupa Pushparaj (Square, USA).

By “enabling our innovators and product teams to be able to push the boundaries beyond rules but also in a safe way [so] that they’re not breaking laws,” he said. Mr. Pushparaj defined this approach to leading through disruption as “principled risk-taking.”

To encourage innovation in response to a massive challenge, Jim Baumbick (Ford Motor Company, USA) suggested framing the question as, “How might we…?” He described how Ford leveraged its capabilities and resources to support front-line workers and patients in the fight against COVID-19 through Project Apollo, which transitioned existing company products into needed technologies such as respirators.

For Mr. Baumbick, a key takeaway on leading through uncertain, disruptive times is to be “mission driven” and “principle driven.”

See related articles in this INTA Bulletin about overall activities at the Leadership Meeting, and the INTA Board Resolution on Guidelines for the Examination of Industrial Designs.

The 2021 Leadership Meeting educational sessions are available to registrants on demand until June 11.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

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