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Dawn Ellmore Employment analyses Heineken’s trade mark application for 2026 World Cup

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Dutch giant Heineken has made a strong statement regarding its connection with football with a trade mark application to be named the “Official Beer of Soccer” in the United States.

Heineken is the partner of Major League Soccer (MLS), the professional football league in the US. The recent trade mark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is particularly relevant given the pending arrival of the World Cup in the US in 2026.

Trade mark application gives indication of brand’s plans

The beer company is already positioned as the “Official Beer” of the league throughout its marketing collateral. However, the application shows that it wants to build on this and strive for full ownership of football in the US.

In 2018, Heineken signed a new partnership deal with MLS that goes through to 2022/23, clearly showing long-term ambition. Felix Palau is the Senior Vice-President of Marketing for Heineken. He says: “Since working with MLS, we’ve seen a huge spike in our pull with soccer fans and supporters, and we hope to continue this trend for the short and long term.”

And with the latest trade mark application, we can surmise that soccer in the US is working well for the long-standing European brand.

What does the trade mark application show?

The trade mark was filed at the USPTO on 4 January 2019. It’s likely that the application shows Heineken’s ambitions to block any potential rivals from linking with the World Cup in 2026, by firmly establishing itself as synonymous with US soccer. It’s certainly likely that there will be brands looking to leverage the same kind of connection during the World Cup.

For example, before 2018’s World Cup, US brand Budweiser usurped Carlsberg as the “official beer” of the English national football team. This was the biggest partnership deal in the Football Association’s history at the time. Not only did Budweiser sponsor the team, which did spectacularly well and revitalised UK interest in international football, it also took over the beer taps at Wembley Stadium. Budweiser also partners the FA Cup and helped to boost the increasing popularity of the brand in the UK. It’s highly likely that Budweiser will want to continue its links with the sport in its home country in the 2026 World Cup.

How popular would the move be?

If European based Heineken is granted the trade mark, it will be interesting to see how popular this would be with US fans. Following the news of the trade mark application, sports journalist Richard Gillis says: “I must’ve been out of the room when football fans were consulted on this. I’m assuming it’s legally binding and we’re all now required to drink Heineken on every football related occasions, with heavy fines for those caught drinking Bud or Carling.

“It’s a welcome trend, and a real timesaver on the part of sponsors and their agencies. No need for ideas or strategy: just declare yourself ‘Official Partner’ and wait for the love and affection of the football family to flow toward the brand. A masterstroke.”

While clearly a sarcastic response, this could indicate that Heineken’s move may not be embraced with open arms in the US.

How beer brands help grow sport

Heineken is no stranger to major sporting partnerships. Global partners of the brand include Formula 1, the UEFA Champions League, the Rugby World Cup and Formula E. In popular culture, the brand is also linked with major franchises, including Daniel Craig’s James Bond.

And it’s a two-way relationship, with MLS benefiting from the marketing money ploughed int the sport by partners like Heineken. The Managing Director and President of MLS Business Ventures, Gary Stevenson, says: “If we are good at solving the brands’ problems, then they will spend more money. That way we can tap into our partners’ marketing dollars and they can make our sport, league and players come alive. We can never have that amount of marketing dollars to do something similar. We’re reliant on them to build the sport.”

The USPTO takes at least six months to process trade mark applications, and Heineken is currently waiting to see whether it has been successful. As with so many major trade mark and patent applications, time will tell whether Heineken will be able to call itself the “Official Beer of Soccer”. With its background of strong support for the sport in the US since 2014, it would seem they have a strong chance.

About Dawn Ellmore Employment

Dawn Ellmore Employment was incorporated in 1995 and is a market leader in intellectual property and legal recruitment.

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5 Ways To Improve Your Company Website

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When you’re running a company, your website is the most important tool at your disposal. Content marketing continues to rule the business world, meaning that your site is so much more than a place to sell products.

1 . Creative Content

Renowned marketing expert  Iliyana Stareva once said, ‘In the digital era, content is the most important asset a business can have. It’s no longer your product or your service; it’s the content you create about it (and around it) that gets you found and noticed.’ With ample competition online, your company website should offer the best content out there. Your content should be creative, engaging, and highly valuable to your audience.

To help marketers to improve their web content, there are several tools available. Crayon is a handy platform to help users create successful content strategies. The tool uses AI to offer insights on your competitor’s content moves. Hubspot also offers a solution to help with content creation; the tool provides guidance on which fresh and original topics to focus on. 

2. Page Speed

If your page speeds aren’t fast enough, potential leads will go elsewhere with their search queries. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights are useful to access info about your page speed, along with advice on how to speed it up. To increase your page speed, you should focus on reducing HTTP requests, trying asynchronous loading, and compressing your files.

3. Focus on UX

The user experience of your website is of crucial importance. Your visitors should be able to navigate your pages easily; there should be clear calls to actions, and an attractive layout. To improve the UX of your site, you might consider using AI chatbots. Often, customers will have small queries that they want solved quickly. AI bots can allow you to offer 24/7 chat responses, without putting pressure on your staff.

4. Web Design Trends

When you are developing a website, it’s useful to pay attention to web design trends. Visually striking and contemporary websites present your company as more professional and credible. In 2020, ‘Dark mode’ web designs are trending, dark backgrounds ensure that the other colors and images stand out. Another trending design style is hand-drawn designs. These offer an authentic, imperfect, and personal quality.

5. Improve SEO

To enhance your website, improving SEO should always be on your agenda. The best thing to do is to use SEO tools to gain insights about which keywords are performing, and which are not. Tools such as SEM Rush can give you a sneaky look at which keywords your competitors are using. In 2020 we’re seeing a lot more voice searches. To optimize for voice search, make sure you use conversational language and long-tail keywords. As new practices and technologies develop it’s important to revise your marketing tactics.

Finally, the video content trend is far from over, be sure to include compelling video content on your site to engage and entertain your visitors. This year, many brands are choosing to host webinars, as part of their ongoing marketing strategies.

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Getting Your Brand Back Out There In A Post-Covid World

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All the rules have changed recently, and with the global Covid 19 pandemic hitting every nation, businesses have been forced to adapt quickly in order to survive. Now that the new normal seems to be slowly returning, many small companies are questioning how they can operate going forward, and, after pausing all marketing activity, how they can kick start their pipeline enquiries again. It’s true that the consumer landscape may look very different in the aftermath of the crisis, but businesses that are able to be agile and make changes to their processes are likely to be the winners. So, how do you get your company back on its feet in a world living with a pandemic?

Reassess Your Business Plan

There are a lot of economic and social uncertainties in the wake of coronavirus, but what is certain is that businesses will have to change to reflect the altered society we live in. Start by revisiting your business plan and reassessing your goals, company mission statement and marketing activity. Businesses dependent on a physical location, for example, may need to make stark changes to accommodate social distancing measures, or consider expanding their presence digitally and improving their ecommerce operations to remain financially viable. Looking at the strengths and weaknesses that you have, and doing a post-Covid competitor analysis will enable you to see where the opportunities may lie. 

Rethink Your Marketing

Marketing messages and channels will also have to shift to keep your business on track in a very different world. Sure, you want to get your message out there, but it needs to connect with your target demographic in these altered times in order to resonate. People have become more aware than ever of our impact on the planet, so it could well be time to look at how green your marketing is. Whether it’s dropping printed brochures in favour of digital ones, or staying in front of customers with branded tote bags that they can reuse, a more eco-friendly approach is likely to go down a lot better. 

Stabilize Your Finances

Part of your coronavirus recovery plan of course needs to be addressing the financials of your business. You may have a much reduced income and need to look at ways of saving on overheads, such as giving up a physical office location and continuing to work from home, or choosing to take on temporary staff rather than permanent employees as you rebuild your operations. Perhaps you need to re-establish a different supply chain, secure more stock or put some advertising budget towards building a buzz around what you do again. Check through all lines of credit and investment available in case you need some funding to get back up on your feet. Microloans, merchant cash advances, equipment financing and business credit cards are all out there if you need them. Make a plan with a timeline for your financial recovery and try to chart out a path with targets and projections which are realistic to the new situation. It may be tough for a while out there, but with the right approach, your business can survive to trade another day.

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Preparing To Start A New Business: Things To Think About

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There aren’t many people who don’t daydream about becoming their own boss. However, the percentage of those who do daydream about and those who actually do it is a lot lower. What is it about becoming our own boss that stops us from following our dreams and turning a dream into a reality?

For many people, it is the fear of the unknown. Not knowing if you are making the right decision can be the tipping point for many people. Another hurdle is money and, dare we say it; self-belief can be a huge factor in starting your own business. If you don’t believe in what you are selling, then it goes without saying that no one else will either.

Removing all the obstacles you place in front of yourself is the first step to starting your journey to becoming your own boss.

Business plan

Every new start-up and trading business needs a business plan. Why? Well, for starters to steer you in the right direction to making a success for your new venture. Knowing what you want from your company, where it is going and where it could potentially go will give you something to aim for and make sure you deliver what is required to make your company successful.

What exactly does a business plan comprise of?

Essentially it is a detailed list of the projected journey of the company to help you steer it in the right direction. What the plan involves can be different depending on your trajectory and what you are offering, but the following will help you to form a plan and know where to start. 

  • What are you selling?
  • Who is your customer base?
  • What percentage profit can you expect to make in the first year? 
  • What is your initial outlay cost to get up and running?
  • Is there scope to expand in your sector?
  • Do you have a USP? (Unique Selling Point)
  • How do you plan to find and attract customers?
  • Why will your customers stay with your company?
  • How do you plan to evolve the company and expand?
  • Are there ways you can adapt what you do and offer more services/different products?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 years?
  • How do you plan to get your company to that point in 5 years?

A thorough and detailed plan will help you for many years to come, not just for their initial starting period.

Know yourself

And know what you want to do and how you plan to get there. Building a new company for the wrong reasons will never work out well and may end up leaving you in a worse place than you were before you started. With as many as 50% of businesses failing in the first five years, knowing how to succeed and being willing to do what it takes will help you stand the test of time if you are genuinely doing it for the right reasons. 

Combine your goals with your personal drive and perseverance and make sure that you are fully committed to making it a success. Simply starting a new business because you dislike working for other people or you think it is a get rich quick scheme will no doubt be your undoing if this is why you are starting a new business.

Financial outlay

Do you need money to get the company up and running? If so, you need to know precisely what you need and how much money you will need before you start looking for loans or financial backers. Some companies will be able to start up on a very small or even no budget at all. Other companies will need to look at purchasing stock, finding premises, and making sure they have everything they need to run their company successfully.

Warehouses, industrial sheds, offices, and tech for employees don’t come cheap, so factoring them into your budget is essential before you start looking for finance options.

Is there a market for what you are selling?

Who is your ideal customer? How are you going to sell them? If there is no market for your service or product, chances are you may struggle to find suitable buyers or to get people’s attention.

Being able to identify a gap in the market and fill it will help you to attract the right customer for your company. You need to demonstrate a willingness to be able to adapt to meet the demands of a changing market and satisfy the consumer needs as and when they change. Diversifying is something that will help your company stay heads and shoulders above the rest and keep you relevant and able to fulfil your client’s needs as they change.

Having a unique selling point will mean you are offering people something they aren’t getting elsewhere or may not even realize they need. Identify a gap in the market and strive to fill it before someone else does. A great way to do this is by asking current or potential clients what they are looking for and what would make their lives easier. Then, you can adapt what you do to meet this demand.

Keep an eye on the competition

Always know what they are doing and make sure you are competing on the same playing field. Copying them may seem dishonest but staying ahead of the market is essential for your company to survive, so make it your business to know new and emerging trends within your sector. Keep on top of client demands and know exactly who your competitors are and what they are offering.

Make sure to stick to your company’s values and integrate any new ideas, ways of working, or new products/services as and when demand calls for it and emulate the success of your competition for yourself.

Starting off on the right foot with a solid plan in place will give you a better head start when it comes to starting up your business.

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