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Why Strategy Requires An IP First Approach

Why Strategy Requires An IP First Approach

This week has been hectic as we moved the Azrights website from WordPress to Kajabi.

Our redirects are not all working as expected although they’re gradually working better so maybe it just needs time to refresh the cache. In the meantime, when Azrights comes up in search queries you’re sometimes led to a 404 page instead of to the content you’re expecting, which is on the new site but just not at the same URL.

At one point I considered reversing the change to reinstate the WordPress site. But then I decided to just accept that the site’s performance will take a downward spiral in the search engines for 6 months or so until the search engines find the new content.

It’s worth it because the change simplifies things and gets rid of a 15-year-old site that had too many plugins and was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. Even though WordPress is better for search engine visibility, and has functionality that Kajabi lacks, I wanted to make the switch as the Brand Tuned and Shireen Smith sites are on Kajabi. And I love how easy it is to add a form, checkout cart, new page etc compared to WordPress.

So, I didn’t have time to focus on the newsletter this week, and have decided to share some information about strategy that I’ve been working on for an upcoming talk and new content.

This is relevant to you if you’re rebranding or starting a new venture, or just want to rethink your business and brand strategy.

How to approach strategic thinking 

When you turn your ideas into a business and brand it’s important to start with IP first so you ensure you’ll own the IP rights in what’s created and use intellectual property to create a unique brand that stands out. That involves using effective barriers to entry – creating a moat around your business so you can’t be copied and ripped off by competitors.

Step 2 is about getting deep insights into the market, the competition, and buyers.

Step 3 is to use that understanding about what buyers want and need to identify the right niche to position your business around. The aim is to distance yourself from competitors and offer something buyers want and that’s missing in the market. That must be something your core competence is well placed to offer and is key to the type of content you use in your marketing and sales and building your personal brand.

Step 4 is about choosing an appropriate name and naming hierarchy and considering how to stand out with your name and other identifying signs. These contain the value of a brand and are a most important IP decision you make for your business.

Step 5 involves establishing your business and brand strategy, so you have a clear roadmap to guide you towards your objectives. The right strategy gives you the clarity to get the right visual identity designs, and to know how to launch your business and brand so you become known in the way you want people to think of you. It also helps you to decide what IP to protect.

I’ve used this same approach to help several clients as well as in my own business.

What IP means and involves 

Most people are familiar with the concept of IP as denoting their knowledge and skills, their way of doing something or their ideas. This ‘informal IP’ is different to the IP that the laws of most sophisticated countries bestow on ‘creations of the mind’.

IP comes into existence once your informal IP and ideas are turned into a product, service, or business. But whether you own that IP or not depends on what is created, how it’s created, and what steps you take to protect it.

You don’t automatically own the IP rights in something just because it was your idea, or you paid for it to be created. 

This is fundamentally important to grasp so you implement your ideas by taking the right steps under IP laws to secure ownership and make good choices of name and other brand identifiers. The IP rules often lead to surprising, unwelcome results for the unwary. 

IP is a catch all term that the law uses to describe 4 main legal rights that go by names like copyright, trademarks, patents, and designs.

The experience of authors like Charles Dickens, whose books were blatantly copied by US publishers, showed that IP rights need to be enforceable internationally to be effective. So, countries got together to co-ordinate their approach to IP protection.

Various international treaties have been signed with the upshot that the prevailing approach to copyright, trademark, patent, and design protection is similar internationally even though the details of each countries’ laws differ.

So, whether you’re in the UK, USA, EU or other country, the first step when you’re thinking through your business and brand strategy should be to consider what products or services you’ll offer and deliver, so you make the right decisions and take the right steps to secure IP rights in what’s created.

Identity design and trademarks 

And when it comes to creating your identity and choosing a name and other signs to identify your business, it’s especially important to understand trademarks.

While copyright is relevant for all businesses to understand because many assets that businesses own in the 21st century, such as websites, are copyright items, it’s arguably not the most important IP right to focus on when creating your identity.

Trademarks are the IP rights that determine ownership rights in names, and other identifying signs. As such they capture your business’ value as it succeeds and grows. You need to have a strategy for protecting them.

If you’re interested to know more about all this, I’ll be sharing details of some new content I’m developing that you’ll be able to access later this month. Till then.