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Become a brand steward

Kingsley Egbuonu, London

Trademark practitioners should take bold steps to become stewards of the brands they advise because consumers, brands and communication channels have evolved, INTA President Joseph Ferretti said at the opening ceremony of the 139th INTA Annual Meeting

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"Consumers are evolving, brands are evolving, communication between the two is evolving," Ferretti (‎VP and Chief Counsel, Global Trademarks at PepsiCo) said, before playing a Doritos advertisement, which was created by consumers. "As trademark professionals, we too must evolve," he said, urging everyone to move from being a technical trademark practitioner to becoming a steward of the brand.

Joseph FerrettiTo illustrate this, Ferretti described the history of branding from the 19th century (when the focus of differentiation was functional) through the 20th century, when companies such as Procter & Gamble communicated their brand message to consumers through television content and into in the late 1980s when social issues made brand owners become conscious of their corporate social responsibility. Today, social media has changed branding again.

But brand owners and their managers are still learning how to navigate this change and must "actively listen to consumers" and allow them to lead the conversation. He urged brand owners to take bold steps to give consumers control. "Put them in the driver’s seat," Ferretti said, reassuring the audience that many brands have succeeded by taking this approach. Doing so, you will end up having consumers as your brand ambassadors who will help communicate the positive authentic brand message you want to deliver. Ferretti concluded by advising trademark practitioners to understand the DNA of the brand and make sure promises made to consumers are delivered. Do so and you can navigate your brands to a successful future.

Earlier at the ceremony INTA Chief Executive Etienne Sanz de Acedo said there are 10,600 attendees this year, with 2,400 newcomers and more than 8,000 repeat attendees. Spain’s education and culture minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo gave the keynote speech.



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