What’s in a name? Creating strategic trade marks

Brand + Business x Christine Moody, BA GradDip(Comn)(Dist) FAIM FDIA GAICD*

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In my previous blog, Managing and protecting your valuable assets: Your trade marks, I outlined the importance of protecting your valuable assets—your trade marks­—via formal registration and ongoing maintenance.

What I didn’t emphasise though is that protecting your brand identity actually starts well before the trade mark application process with IP Australia.

To offer the best protection and to create a valuable identity, you need to consider your overall business and brand strategy, preferably before a name is even chosen.

For new businesses or brands, this begins with understanding your business model and its structure. Holding a meeting with your accountant and lawyer will enable you to understand your options and which entity will own your intellectual property.

You need to understand the structure and the pros and cons of each structure as it may also affect your business and personal tax liabilities down the track. This is something that you need to revisit annually to make sure that your business structure suits your current and future requirements. Things change and your structures need to keep up your needs.

Once you understand the structure, and before any logo work commences, it’s best to check with ASIC and a domain hosting company, to ensure that the name you want for your business is available.

You should check the availability of both .com.au and .com for your website domains. After tackling the legal and accounting framework, it’s important to understand and document your company’s vision.

This is your unique story and the one that your staff, suppliers, and other stakeholders will hear over and over again. It is your ‘Why?’.

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name…

Your vision and story are intrinsically linked to your business name, so it’s imperative you choose the right name for the business. Ask yourself, ‘Will it allow me to pivot into new innovative areas of new products and services?’, ‘Is it easy to spell and say?’, ‘Does it need a tagline to help explain the name?’.

Only after completing these tasks should you think about designing your logo and brand identity. Even though the design phase is the exciting and fun bit of starting a business, it may all go to waste if you haven’t done your homework first.

Without strategic thinking and brand planning, you may not be able to register the business name and identity (the trade mark) you choose..And this means a missed opportunity to protect your valuable assets and your trade mark

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Yankees Stadium NYC x Christine Moody)

Managing and protecting your valuable assets: Your trade marks

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Brand + Business x Christine Moody, BA GradDip(Comn)(Dist) FAIM FDIA GAICD*

What’s in a brand name?
Brand identity is fast becoming one of the most valuable assets for a business. Contemporary asset value (for intangible assets such as brands) is now nearly 85% of the market value of S&P 500 companies, according to an annual survey by Ocean Tomo in 2015. Yet protection of brand identity is often overlooked until it’s too late.

While ‘brand’ is most often associated with logos, it actually encompasses much more. Brand and brand name is integral to how the Brand and brand name is integral to how the organisation engages with its customers and market, and in many cases is its most recognisable asset. This is particularly the case for businesses that have little in the way of physical infrastructure or locations. The best way to protect your brand identity is with Trade Marks.

Yet protection of brand identity is often overlooked until it’s too late.

Protecting your brand identity
When businesses commence trading, business name and domain name registration is often in place but often Trade Mark registration isn’t considered important. Many business owners think that they will “get around to it later down the track”. This is not an issue until the business is sold or takes on new partners and investors, and during the due diligence process, someone asks “who owns the Trade Mark and is it registered?”.

There also seems to be a lot of confusion about the differences between registering a business name and registering a website domain name, versus Trade Mark registration…

There also seems to be a lot of confusion about the differences between registering a business name (via ASIC) and registering a website domain name, versus Trade Mark registration, which is a completely separate process. Registering your business name and a website domain are not enough to protect your brand name or identity. In Australia, brands and Trade Marks are registered via IP Australia.

Trade Mark registration
According to IP Australia, each year individuals and businesses lodge more than 134,500  (2015/16) Trade Mark Applications with potential brand names and brand identities. Often these applications are not accepted because they haven’t been screened prior to lodging and/or the Trade Marks are similar to those already registered.

To ensure your brand identity has the best chance of registration, there are four important stages prior to lodging your trade mark application:

  1. Gain an understanding of the strategic plan of the business and the industry sector as well as current and future plans—new products and services.
  2. Complete an initial search of similar brand identities in the same sector to ensure there is nothing similar—the point here is to create a unique identity to protect your commercial space in the market and enable you to differentiate your organisation from your competitors.
  3. It’s important not to fall in love with the first idea and keep an open mind as the brand name and the brand identity need to be timeless and adaptable to future business direction.
  4. The brand name is a strategic decision and consideration must be made to its translation across all customer ‘touch points’—from website to bricks-and-mortar stores.

How do you maintain brand protection?
Successful trade mark registration isn’t enough for long-term brand protection. We help
organisations leverage this important asset by:

  • Conducting regular brand audits: Formal registration means easier and more effective protection of your competitive market but your organisation must use the trade mark in its registered format on all existing and new communication touchpoints.
  • Creating education programs and workshops with staff and suppliers on the importance of asset protection: Workshops to ensure all employees, suppliers and other stakeholders understand their role in ensuring the proper use of the trade mark
  • Quarterly reviews of existing and new products and services to ensure ongoing protection and new applications are lodged in a timely manner: As new products and services come online, the process of protection should be repeated.

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

(Photo: Shanghai Flower Shop x Christine Moody)

 

 

Committing to paper

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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A friend of mine sent me a podcast from The Tim Ferriss Show titled How to Design a Life. In it Tim interviewed Debbie Millman, a writer, educator, artist and designer. Why my friend thought I would be interested is three-fold: 1) Debbie’s brand and business background; 2) the title ‘How to Design a Life!’; and 3) Debbie is based in New York – one of my all time favourite cities. My friend was spot on with her recommendation – this podcast didn’t disappoint.

Debbie is best known as the host of ‘Design Matters‘, a podcast by Design Observer. She previously worked at Sterling Brands—working with brands such as Pepsi, Gillette, Colgate, Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, and Campbells—President Emeritus of AIGA and Fast Company based in New York City. She chairs the ‘Masters in Branding’ program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), is the Editorial & Creative Director of Print, and a blogger for Fast Company

What I found most intriguing about the podcast was Millman’s SVA student exercise, which turned out to be the perfect starting point for planning out the next few years of my life—work + play. Millman borrowed the exercise from another famous NY designer and her teacher, Milton Glaser—best known for the I LOVE (heart) NY graphic that adorns T-shirts all over NY and the world! The exercise is not only for design students but can be used by any person in any industry sector. It is perfect for anyone who has all the bits of the puzzle but still needs to put it all together.

Millman refers to Glaser’s New York Magazine (17 January 1972) article where he describes the exercise he gave his SVA students: “You have two minutes to write down everything you can think of, including where you live, money, career and where you see yourself in five years”.

You describe this in detail via ‘a day in the life of…’ and give detailed descriptions from the time you wake to the time you brush your teeth before getting into bed. Millman did this exercise with Glaser and continues to use it today with her students. This exercise is very powerful and in many instances can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. She said she often receives emails and notes from past students telling her how what they wrote down in her class came true.

I was a little hesitant to do the exercise as I have done this type of thing before. But this one was different as I wrote it in one sitting. I captured in the most minute detail, everything I did and saw that day, for example, what the sheets felt like when I woke up, what my bedroom looked like. The more you describe, the more real it becomes. But the idea of writing it down makes it tangible and you accountable. It also gives you a visual direction.

…Writing down a list of lifetime goals engages even the most dormant imagination and creates a tangible object…

I completed this exercise last week and what it did was create a vision for me (I used words + drawings) and made me commit myself and my future to paper. I intend to read it every 12 months to see how I am tracking!

Try it and report back to me in five years! Happy writing.

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Working with what you have

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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A friend of mine sent me an article on Captain Richard de Crespigny and the Singapore to Sydney ‘incident’ on Qantas flight A380 QF32. Much has been written about the incident since it occurred on 4 November 2010, but I had resisted reading anything more about it. I knew de Crespigny had written a well-received book called QF32 and it was a great story from a brand perspective. However I’m a nervous flyer (due to some scary flights) and since I didn’t want to know too much about the incident and what could go wrong, I had held off on reading QF32…until now.

Over the weekend I put aside my fears and read it. And while QF32 has lots of background on de Crespigny’s flying credentials and experience, and how Qantas is renowned for its safety record, what stood out for me was how de Crespigny faced the aftermath of the engine 2 explosion. The explosion sent shrapnel through the wing and fuselage, “creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded”(QF32). The aircraft had 469 people on board.

But rather than concentrate on what he didn’t have, de Crespigny focused on what he did. He looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have. This was such a good lesson. While most of us do not fly aircraft or have to make life or death decisions every day, the lesson of working with what you have is an important one. Any start-up brand going through tough times needs to utilise what they have and not worry about what they don’t have.

De Crespigny looked for the few things he had to work with rather than what he did not have.

We all have something to work with and we all have choices. Even when it seems all is lost and there is nothing we can do. When de Crespigny needed to focus and not let the stress take over, he took a deep breath and got on with it. He ensured that everyone kept calm —including himself! The other thing de Crespigny did was trust the people behind the Qantas brand. He knew how they reacted in a crisis and that they had his back. He knew that the Crisis Management team would be meeting and getting on with handling other aspects of the situation for the passengers and the crew. He could do his job, while the rest of the team did theirs.

QF32 is a must read—for everyone in business!

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Understand your intellectual property issues

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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It has been a big year for me: published my first book; helped published a second book (and wrote a chapter for it); and commenced at QUT Law School. And I never stop learning! In my book, Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs, I dedicate an entire chapter to understanding intellectual property (Lesson 6). Below is an adapted excerpt of this chapter as IP is one of the most misunderstood business assets.

Lesson 6: Understand Your Intellectual Property Issues
The intellectual property (IP) issue is particularly important to our work as designers. However, understanding the area is both simple and complex: simple in that there is so much information available on the subject (The IP Australia website is an excellent start); and complex because of the difficulty in understanding the difference between the different classes within IP, and the difference between IP, trade marks, and copyright.

The following section, presented from my position as a designer working in the brand space, provides you with the necessary general information on the subject. As already emphasised, however, each case is different, and it is critical that you seek legal advice from a specialist IP lawyer. Prior to registration, you will also need to talk to your accountant (and your clients) to determine which entity will own the trade mark.

Common types of IP
The most common type of IP issue you are likely to come across is the registration of your organisation’s brand identity or logo, or your clients’ brand identities or logos. When you develop a logo, it is trade marked; however, registration is its best protection.

There are important details that need to be thought about and discussed with your advisors before you rush into designing a logo. It is also important to discuss and think about the short- and long-term plans for a brand before you design a logo as these plans affect the design process as well as the lodgement and other fees. For example, each lodgement in a different IP class is an additional fee.

The trade mark confirmation process is a lengthy one so it is important to think practically and only register in classes that you truly think you will operate in the near future. The same goes for the choice of countries where you wish to protect a logo as registration in each country, and maintaining that registration there, is expensive.

At the initial meeting/s with your client, you need to ask questions about their business and legal structure as this will have consequences for both the registration timing and cost. It will also have consequences for the way in which the trade mark is considered; in other words, what trade mark product and service classes are best suited to their current and future business? It is also worth knowing early on who is going to be responsible for the trade mark process; for example, your client’s in-house legal counsel, or an external lawyer? Work with this legal representative as soon as possible in the pre-naming and pre-design stages of logo development (that is, the name style and symbol) that will form the trade mark. This will save a lot of future heartache for your client—and you!

…the process of registering the trade mark is not a straightforward one, but it is an important part of the process of ensuring the value of their brand identity…

A client also needs to understand that while the process of registering the trade mark is not a straightforward one, but it is an important part of the process of ensuring the value of their brand identity. Failure to register a brand identity/logo can delay the sale of a business. On several occasions, I have witnessed a client in too much of a rush to apply and wait for their trade mark registration; they have either not bothered to register or have had their trade mark rejected when they did. This can result in delays in the process of the sale because the new owner wants to have the security of a registered trade mark.

Who owns the IP?
A client often expects to own everything you do on their project—from initial sketches to digital files. They are often mistaken in thinking that they own the work outright because they have paid for it to be done. This is not the case. If you want to retain any IP in your work (personally, for example, I ensure that I own all the concepts right up to the final design), you will need to discuss this with your client. Client relationships can be ruined as the result of misunderstandings over IP ownership. I have witnessed this first hand.

Before commencing a project, you need to know what the client’s intention for your work is, and ensure that your project expectations and scope aligns with the client’s requirements with respect to IP. If you have discussed a certain requirement—for example, that you own all the concepts leading up to the approved final design—ensure that this agreement is included in the contract. If you have spoken about a specific inclusion but it is not included, hand-write it into the documentation, and sign this addition.

If you decide to transfer your copyright to a client, be clear about what you are transferring, and make sure that you will be happy with that decision in both the short- and long- term. If the paperwork for the transfer is provided by your client, you will need to have it checked. If you provide the paperwork—which I suggest you do—it is worthwhile creating a standard form for this purpose. Ensure that this form is prepared by an IP lawyer (especially if the matter or project is a complicated one) and that it is reviewed on a regular basis. Having standard documentation means that you will be able to adjust and include specific items if, and as needed.

Understand your IP issues

  1. Know the different classes within IP
  2. Understand the difference between IP, trade mark, and copyright
  3. Seek legal and financial advice around IP issues
  4. Discuss, decide, and document IP ownership for each project
  5. Understand the IP requirements and/or ownership of your work as an employee or independent contractor
  6. Beware the pitfalls of third party IP
  7. Factor the cost of a project’s legal IP work into your fee structure.

Excerpt from Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs. First published by Brand Audits Pty Ltd a Trustee for Red Discretionary Trust ABN 26 515 247 341 Australia. Copyright © Christine Jane Moody 2016. All rights reserved, No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. 

Review on Amazon.com by Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out and Reinventing You, and adjuct professor, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture. This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers, and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges, and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Entrepreneurship and the “Aha!” moment

Brand + Business x Christine Moody* 

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Entrepreneurship has fascinated me both pre-and post- my Master’s research thesis. I read extensively and operate in the entrepreneurial space and never tire of the topic. When I started, 35+ years ago, I don’t think we even had a name for it. What I couldn’t understand and fully appreciate was that entrepreneurship is a job!

Recently I reread journal articles by William Aulet, who is the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and also a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he teaches entrepreneurship. I have seen first hand the calibre and innovative ideas of the MIT researchers and students, when I visited and toured the campus with a good friend, Stephanie Rowe (Stanford University d.school alumni; winner of MassChallenge Winner; and Founder and CEO of Start-up Joulez).

Aulet’s articles reminded me that having an idea alone does not make you an entrepreneur. He states that while the idea is necessary, “…it is so much less important than the discipline and process with which the idea pursued”. This prompted me to examine and review all my “great” ideas and start-ups with a different set of lenses. On examination I realise the ideas are good, the execution is okay but the missing link is the existence of a quality founding team alongside me. According to Aulet, this is important because, “…the original idea morphs and evolves over time as the team does primary market research and starts to focus on customer needs, rather than their initial eureka moment”. In other words…Reality!

…the original idea morphs and evolves over time as the team does primary market research and starts to focus on customer needs, rather than their initial eureka moment.

Coming up with great ideas is easy for entrepreneurs as we see gaps in the marketplace or want to make something better than what is currently available. What some of us lack is discipline as well as the experience and the knowledge to see the product or service through to launch and sustaining growth. It is the discipline to keep going, keep passionate, keep motivated, and keep focused on what is to be achieved, that is really needed. It may be fun in the beginning—coming up with new ideas is truly good fun!—but it is hard work to execute the idea.

It is not about having all the skills, but working collaboratively with co-founders who each possess the skills that complement your’s—business, IT, sales et al. Where start-ups need someone with a great idea to get started, the idea can often morph into another idea, especially when the prototype is presented to potential customers. Additionally, an idea is only sustainable if there is a market—and buying customers—if the business is to survive.

I am setting out now with a couple of ideas, to build my founding team, and to create a business that is built on a good idea but also has the discipline to survive the tough world it must live in! Thanks for the reminder William Aulet.

Photo credit: One of the most memorable MIT moments was seeing the Fire Hose Water Fountain that was inspired by Former MIT President [’71-’80] Jerome Weisner’s often quoted description of the MIT educational experience was: “Getting an Education from MIT is like taking a drink from a Fire Hose.” MIT Fire Hose Water Fountain x Christine Moody 2015.

References:
Aulet, W. (2015). ‘The most overrated thing in entrepreneurship’. Retrieved 02 December, 2016, from mitsloanexperts.mit.edu/the-mostoverratedthing-in-entrepreneurship/

I continue to be overwhelmed by the comments coming in for my book, inspired by my own personal resilience and entrepreneurial spirit—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs:

So many of us in small business are great at big ideas, at inspiring others and creating a kick arse product. And yet the same businesses can crash and burn because we’re clueless when it comes to the legal bits. Written for designers but applicable to all of us in small business, Christine Moody’s book Designer Law School is a must read. From an extensive wealth of knowledge and personal experience she has brought the very best of herself and injected it into a book that is bold, clear, strategic and very, very smart.

Lynne Schinella, Speaker, Author, and Coach 

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Enjoying the journey with resilient women

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

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I never tire of hearing inspirational stories of resilience, particularly those of resilient women. And this last week was no exception.

As a guest of EY, I attended the inaugural Resilient Women 2016 conference in Sydney, Australia, last Friday. The conference appealed to me as I have recently written a book about my own personal resilience—Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs. The conference was an entire day dedicated to hearing from inspirational female leaders.

The Master of Ceremonies was Jane Caro and she was brilliant at guiding us through a jam-packed day. Jane also gave personal insights about her life, sharing some of the many inspiring stories we would hear throughout the day. When the day kicked off with a ‘Welcome to Country’ by Yvonne Weldon and the ‘Official Welcome’ by Lynn Kraus, Managing Partner, Oceania Markets and Managing Partner, EY Sydney, we all knew we were in for a special day. And special it was!

From ‘The Financial Fairytale’ presented by Melissa Browne, Entrepreneur, Author, Accountant and 100 Women of Influence; to ‘Resilient Women Across the Globe’ by Professor Elaine Kempson, Director, Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol, UK; and the post-lunch panel ‘Sharing the Stories of Resilient Women’ with Christine Nixon APM interviewing Beth Mathison, Telstra Business Women of the Year 2105; and Basia Emanual, a No Interest Loan Scheme client—the day lived up to my expectations. Real stories, real problems, real resilience, real women! Inspiring but more importantly for me, motivating!

The final event of the day–a panel entitled ‘The Money Story’–was one of my favourites, featuring three of the most inspiring and authentic women I’ve ever had the privilege to hear from. Amanda Young, CEO, First Nations Foundation; Tanya Hosch, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, AFL; and Shelley Cable, Finance Analyst, Shell + Project Director, 100 Days of Deadly Mob, told their personal stories about their lives and how they succeed in a world that is far from easy. But at the end of the day, it is being part of and giving back to their community that continues to drive these amazing women. It’s not the individual but the community successes they celebrate!

For me the big take-outs were:

  1. A partner (or ‘Prince Charming’) is not a financial plan for any woman
  2. If you need help, ask for it!
  3. You are so much stronger than you think you are
  4. Just keep going, no matter what is thrown at you!
  5. Enjoy the journey because you learn more about yourself during the hard times.

For more information on the speakers and the program: Resilient Women

As an aside, here is another comment about my book inspired by my own personal resilience—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs:

Innovators and entrepreneurs starting small businesses need access to an ecosystem of support services. But, to get through the ‘start-up’ phase of a new entity we sometimes only have budget to help/hire ourselves. Designer Law School will allow you to get your head around the basics of legal frameworks whilst starting a company. With sage advice, and a great sense of humour, there are many lessons to be learned and experiences to be shared. I devoured this book with relish, and would recommend to any new small business owner.

Dr. Catherine Ball, CEO and Founder, Elemental Strategy 

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Photo credit: View from EY Sydney offices—Resilient Women 2016 conference x Christine Moody.

Law 101: Why design entrepreneurs need to understand the basics

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Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

Designers—and I count myself as one!—are great at what they do, but not so great at ‘the other stuff’. We are naturally curious and excited about interesting projects and opportunities—sometimes at the risk of the practical detail. The personal crises we sometimes find ourselves in are often a result of rushing ahead without considering the long-term consequences.

We get swept up in the excitement of a project and ‘lose our heads’. So, in my book Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs, I set out to make designers aware of the ‘other stuff’. I wanted to give them the opportunity to take a breath and understand the possible legal implications of what they do. As a designer, my natural inclination was to lead with my heart and not my head. I was often very emotional when it came to decision-making.

In the book, I share my personal experiences because I ‘get it’. I ‘get’ designers and the world in which they live. I ‘get’ that designers don’t make any distinction between work and life. To us, work is an integral part of life! We love what we do and we spend our lives doing it. In fact, I’m sure that other professionals may be secretly jealous: we get to do something we love every day of our lives!

First, I have learned that you need to seek professional help from other parties, including your colleagues, your lawyers, and your accountants. You need to surround yourself with trustworthy advisors and mentors who will help bring you back to earth when your heart is telling you to simply sign a document and get the deal done so that you can start work. But this is not enough.

You also have to understand what your advisors are saying and consider their advice in both short and long-term scenarios.

I want you to understand when you need to seek professional legal advice, how to find it and how to brief a lawyer to get the best outcome.

As the old adage goes, ‘If it sounds too good to be true…’. Never be afraid or in too much of a rush to get a second opinion. If you are—and I have been guilty of this—bad decision-making can result. In particular, I want you to understand when you need to seek professional legal advice, how to find it, and how to brief a lawyer to get the best outcome.

During the writing of my book, I enrolled in Applied Australian Law and have really enjoyed understanding the legal terminology and how it fits into the Australian legal system. The idea is not to become a lawyer, but to be able to speak to designers in a language they understand and assist them to navigate the business world.

As an aside, I continue to be overwhelmed by the positive feedback coming in for my book—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs. Here is another comment that I wanted to share:

Get over yourself and buy this book! Christine Moody provides sage advice for any design business looking to engage lawyers, she has built a bridge over the communication divide to enable your experience with legal practitioners to be the best it possibly can be.

Sarah Bartholomeusz, Founder and CEO, You Legal; and author of How to Avoid a Fall from Grace and Kingpin: Legal lessons from the Underworld

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

…………………………………………….

About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

 

Photo credit: Study Desk Still Life x Christine Moody 2016.

Want to innovate? Use Design Thinking

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Brand + Business x Christine Moody*

‘Design Thinking’ and innovation go hand in hand. Design Thinking according to Stanford University’s d.school is a process that includes five stages or modes:

  1. Empathise—empathy is the centrepiece of a human-centred design process.
  2. Define—the mode of the design process is all about bringing clarity and focus to the design space.
  3. Ideate—the mode of the design process in which you concentrate on idea generation.
  4. Prototype—the mode is the iterative generation of artifacts intended to answer questions that get you closer to your final solution.
  5. Test—the mode is when you solicit feedback, about the prototypes you have created, from your users and have another opportunity to gain empathy for the people you are designing for.

I attended d.school bootcamp in 2011 as part of my Masters Degree and have continued to use the process in every part of my business and personal life. I have used this method on everything from creating new products and services for retail clients  (i.e., developing Poppy Cakes’ Party in a Box), to working through my personal legal challenges, to creating a stronger and more refined, authentic personal brand (i.e., writing the first book in what will be a series of books, Designer Law School: Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs).

Whenever I get stuck on an issue, I grab my Moleskine notepad and start writing, drawing, and visually problem-solve. I also make sure that I am aware of what is happening outside my design world. I do this by reading constantly—books as well as online journals. I also make sure I hit the streets to see what is happening. For example, I find out what new retail stores are opening (both Australian and international brands) and go and visit new stores to get a feel for the brand. I also overlay these field trips with reviewing the brand’s online stores and social media.

Design thinking is action and taking action is what you have to do to truly become innovative.

As an aside, I continue to be overwhelmed by the positive feedback coming in for my book—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs. Here is another comment that I wanted to share:

 All entrepreneurs have a list of things they wish they had known before starting a business. But what if you could learn them all in one place, sparing yourself endless hassle and confusion? This book lays out the steps you need to take to protect your interests and create a thriving, lucrative design practice.
Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out and Reinventing You, and adjunct professor, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

…………………………………………….

About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers, and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

Photo credit: Stanford University d.school