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Advanced Engineering 2020

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

04/11/2020 - 05/11/2020

The UK's largest annual advanced manufacturing trade show, Advanced Engineering is your opportunity to (more)

Drives & Controls Exhibition

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

25/01/2021 - 27/01/2021

The show brings together key suppliers of state-of-the-art equipment representing the multi-tasking culture (more)

What every small business could learn from football...

As a Spurs supporter, I'm finding things increasingly tense as the summer goes on. (I use the term 'summer' in the loosest possible sense, referring merely to the time of year rather than to any noticeable pick up in the weather.) No new Tottenham signings yet, and mounting speculation over the future of Gareth Bale, with an offer of £85 million from Real Madrid reportedly on the table. Of course that's a lot of money to turn down, but no more than the club would make from a couple of Champions League runs should they manage to hold on to him. It would also be a statement of intent that would help to attract other top players to the club.

There has been little said by Bale himself on any proposed move to Madrid, which is going some way to calming this increasingly haggard supporter's already frayed nerves. But then he has been busy of late trying to trademark his finger-formed, heart-shaped goal celebration gesture. If the trademark application is successful, then it's been reported that the 'Eleven of Hearts' goal celebration logo could earn him £3 million a year in merchandising on clothing and footwear.

Some might say that it's a decidedly opportunistic attempt to cash in on image rights. But perhaps there's a lesson there for many SMEs who are not doing enough to protect their brand or to shape perceptions of their business. Looking at Gareth Bale's efforts to trademark his 'Eleven of Hearts' logo, Joanne Bone, a partner and specialist in intellectual property and branding protection issues at Irwin Mitchell commented: "There is plenty for businesses to learn from this kind of activity, and it is important that company owners consider what shapes the general view of their operations - whether it is a specific, recognisable logo, certain colour shades and branding, or even slogans."

Remember how Cadbury fought a four year legal contest with Nestlé over the rights to use a particular shade of purple on chocolate bars? If two giants of the confectionary industry can battle that hard over just a colour, surely it says mouthfuls about the importance of branding and of protecting your brand.

If you have a powerful and recognisable brand, then surely you should be making the most of it - using your logo and distinguishing marks in new and perhaps unusual ways that will boost awareness and recognition in both existing and new markets. The UK's SMEs lead the world in many fields of engineering and technology. Building on that global recognition by taking steps to ensure that customers know exactly who you are can only be a good thing.

Mark Simms, 4 June 2013

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