Finance Executive Brand Awareness

As Finance Executive its very critical for you to understand developing brand strategy is extremely critical. The most important asset your company has is its brand. Quite simply, it drives the direction of your business. So you should definitely have a well thought out brand strategy in place.

Increasing competition in business develops similar products with good quality from different manufacturers. But only an effective, innovative and marketing strategy & planning can make your business and products more popular. For your profession as Finance Executive it becomes your responsibility to stay connected with like-minded supporting industry experts who can guide and help you deal with your day to day work issues.

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If you are entrepreneurial in nature owning a business is very exciting adventure. It can also be the most difficult thing for you to get into if you are not prepared.

In this article we're going to discuss the tricky aspect of marketing strategy when applying for a patent.

Getting a patent is a tricky process under normal circumstances. Under laws of the United States a company or person is entitled to a patent unless the invention was on sale in the country for more than one year prior to the application date of the patent. This applies to both sales and offers of sales. Therefore, companies conducting marketing campaigns must be careful not to destroy their patent rights. In a perfect world, application for a patent should be filed before any sales begin. But then that would hurt the company's bottom line because that ultimately puts profits on hold. In a competitive marketplace this could spell disaster for the company.

Therefore, it is important for a company to understand just what it is that starts the one year clock ticking. In other words what can they do and what can't they do in order to avoid their product being put on the timer?

In order to answer that question we have to understand what exactly, according to law, starts the clock running. There are basically two conditions. The first one is that the invention must be ready for patenting at the time of the sale. If it can be shown that the inventor had sufficient drawings that would enable another person to use the invention then this would satisfy the first criteria.

The second criteria is that there has actually been an offer for sale. In other words, the inventor or company that owns the invention approaches another company and offers to sell them the invention. This can either be in the form of a letter to the other company or in an actual physical meeting between the two companies. Usually the meeting follows a letter.

In the form of a letter the owner of the invention will usually draw up a letter stating that they have such and such an invention and go on to say that they feel this is something that would enhance their business. In the letter they would describe what the invention does and how it would help them. They would then ask the other company to get back to them if interested.

When it comes to the meeting the inventor will bring drawings of his invention and present them to the company interested in acquiring the invention. Maybe the inventor even has a working prototype he can show them. This is always a plus. Companies actually like to see that the invention they are interested in works.

Where the law comes in, and this is where inventors can delay the clock, is that the following items do not fall within the two criteria. Solicitation of customer pricing information from distributors and sales representatives; publication of preliminary data sheets and promotional information on invention features; communications to sales representatives; sales representatives providing customers with preliminary data sheets; and sales representatives' requests for customer samples.

Therefore, an inventor can engage in any of the above activities and NOT start the one year clock running. This allows the inventor to get as much preliminary leg work done for his patent without actually "technically" starting the process.

This is important information for any inventor to have if he is trying to gain as much ground in his quest for a patent as possible.

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With the support of our professional business network, you get the opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge at a top professional level, and to strengthen and develop your own skills within your management and specialist areas.

Through business relationships and experience sharing in confidential settings for Finance Executive, we strive to create personal and business value for all our network peers.

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What is a Brand? Put simply, it defines the identity of an organisation, product or service. It's more than just names and logos. The identity needs to be based on a unique idea and told through a compelling story. It needs to connect with potential customers and form positive emotional bonds. The idea needs to be distinctive from the competition and relevant to the target markets worldview. It also needs to be authentic, meaning that it's not enough to simply make empty claims. The organisation needs to actually live its brand.

Brands increase the value of products and services by differentiating them from the competition, creating positive mental associations and forming emotional relationships with the customer. Philip Kotler from the Kellogg School of Management famously said that "if you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low cost producer is the only winner."

Competing on price may increase short-term sales, but is a dangerous strategy for anyone serious about building a profitable, sustainable business. Brands provide businesses with the means to free themselves from constant price competition, increase the value of their services, reduce their marketing costs and develop long-term customer loyalty.

Building a successful, sustainable brand requires careful planning and consistency. It needs a strategy. Brand strategy is the plan that defines defines the ideas and stories behind the brands, the structure and relationship of the brands within the organisation and the core identifying elements. These can include elements such as company and product names, tone of voice, logo's, colour schemes etc. It also provides the framework for implementing the brands throughout the organisations operations and for using them to efficiently work towards the businesses goals. It's not just a cosmetic exercise; it's a key element of business strategy.

With a clear strategy in place, managers can make appropriate, co-ordinated, informed decisions not just in marketing, but in all departments from product development through to customer service and recruitment. This process of embodying the brand idea throughout the organisation is what we call branding.

The beauty of branding is that by telling your customers authentic, compelling stories, you not only make your goods more attractive and valuable, you give your customers something to talk about. Humans naturally love to tell and share stories. By giving them good stories to tell, you gain access to what is by far the cheapest and most effective form of promotion - word of mouth.

Few organisations manage to achieve the full benefits of word of mouth, and worse still, for many organisations it spreads more negative stories than positive. To compensate for a lack of positive word of mouth, organisations spend huge sums of money on ineffective marketing exercises. Without an effective brand strategy these exercises are often unfocussed, inconsistent and unauthentic. Consequently, they rarely pay for themselves, let alone make a profit.

So what is the role of marketing? To a large extent, branding is the antithesis of marketing. Branding is the most effective way of generating positive word of mouth, making it both cheaper and more effective than traditional marketing techniques.

Marketing without a clear brand strategy is a chaotic, costly exercise that in essence is little more than shouting and showing off about your products and services. People don't like or trust show-offs. If you want to make an impact, you need to talk to them like grown ups. With exposure to thousands of marketing messages every day, consumers have become largely immune to meaningless promotional messages, filtering them out and filing them in their mental recycle bins.

However, there is still a place for marketing and in many cases, marketing is part of the branding process as it provides a means by which to spread the brand story. This explains why there is so much confusion regarding the difference between them. Marketing used to be about the promotion of products and services. Successful marketing now focuses on the promotion of brands.

If an organisation developed a perfect brand idea but did nothing to promote it, then no one would ever have heard about it. The story would never spread and the strategy would be unsuccessful. It's therefore important to combine the strengths of both branding and marketing in order to reach your target market.

The most successful organisations combine a confident and forward thinking idea with a robust and organised strategy. They then use carefully targeted marketing to help get their story out. The success of their brands means that as time goes on, the need for formal marketing reduces and the effectiveness of any existing marketing increases, thus paving the way for increased profits and organisational growth.

In conclusion, brands are a key element of building profitable businesses with long-term sustainability. When executed well, they increase sales, add value to products and services and reduce marketing costs. They also give focus to a business, boost staff morale and increase share value.

Building successful brands is not simply a cosmetic exercise. They need to be consistent, true to the organisation and embodied throughout their activities. This is only possible when a clear brand strategy is in place to act as a framework for their implementation, and to ensure that they are always working towards the business goals. Marketing has its place as a tool for promoting brands, but once they have made a connection with the core of their target market, successful brands can sell themselves through word of mouth.

Networking has always been considered a powerful tool for improving business prospects, advancing a career, and developing ideas. Other than some brief, structured events, networking has been mostly informal and inexpensive in comparison to cost they otherwise spend on different channels. But membership is growing in many formal, long-term networking groups, and so is the price tag.

Our groups are not groups for generating sales leads, nor are they places where individuals can drop-in to gain quick advice on an immediate challenge.  Members also sign a confidentiality agreement and benefits from the guided mentoring to help each other.

These groups include an experienced facilitator and use a structured discussion method to ensure appropriate participation.