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Dawn Ellmore Employment reviews the shock defeat for McDonald’s as it’s stripped of its ‘Big Mac’ EU trade mark

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For more than half a century McDonald’s has been a recognisable brand in just about every country you can think of. According to its website, the chain has restaurants in 101 countries. Its 36,000+ restaurants serve around 69 million fast food fans every single day.

With stats like this, and McDonald’s easily recognised by just about anybody, the recent EU trade mark ruling has surprised many. McDonald’s has just lost its EU trade mark for the Big Mac in what is dubbed a ‘David and Goliath’ battle with a small Irish chain.

How did McDonald’s lose its Big Mac EU trade mark?

When Supermac’s took on the might of McDonald’s in a trade mark battle, it was assumed by many that the smaller chain would lose. While Supermac’s may not be a household name in the UK, however, it’s much loved in Ireland.

Now the largest fast food chain in Ireland, Supermac’s began in 1978 and today has more than 110 franchises and restaurants all over the country. Founded by Pat and Una McDonagh, it was named after his nickname, ‘Supermac’ when he played Gaelic football. They also own Claddagh Irish Pubs & Restaurants through Supermac’s Ireland Ltd.

The EU trade mark battle

Supermac’s has been locked into an ongoing fight with McDonald’s since 2015, when it announced plans to expand into the EU and UK. McDonald’s initially objected to Supermac’s registering a number of trade marks for products and its name. They argued that the names McDonald’s and Supermac’s are too similar and would cause customer confusion. McDonald’s further argued that the Supermac’s brand name is visually too similar to their trade mark.

Supermac’s responded by pointing out that they had happily traded at the same time as McDonald’s in Ireland for more than 30 years with no signs of confusion on the part of customers.

Initially, McDonald’s won a part-victory when the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) decided that Supermac can continue to trade in its own name within the EU. However, it rejected the Irish company’s trade mark applications for various products and menu items, saying that consumers might “be confused as to whether Supermac’s is a new version of McDonald’s”, given that there are near-identical products sold by both restaurant chains.

Revoking McDonald’s EU trade marks

In January 2019, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) made a decision that allows victory to Supermac’s after all. By ruling that EU trade marks owned by McDonald’s are to be revoked, Supermac’s is clear to expand into the rest of the EU.

The landmark decision went into effect immediately, on the basis that the EUIPO rules that McDonald’s had failed to prove “genuine use” of its Big Mac trade mark as a restaurant or menu item.

Unsurprisingly delighted, Pat McDonagh says: “Never mind David versus Goliath, this unique landmark decision is akin to the Connacht team winning against the All Blacks. This is the end of the McBully. Just because McDonald’s has deep pockets and we are relatively small in context, doesn’t mean we weren’t going to fight our corner.”

How the fight played out

In April 2017, Supermac’s requested that the EUIPO cancel McDonald’s trade mark for ‘Big Mac’ and ‘Mc’. The chain also accused the US giant of “trade mark bullying” by registering and gaining protection for names, but not actually using them to stamp down any potential competition.

On its part, McDonald’s legal representatives provided signed affidavits from high level executives and showed examples of packaging and adverts to demonstrate it serves Big Macs right across the EU, and therefore deserves to retain the EU trade mark for that specific product.

However, the EUIPO deemed this “insufficient” in its judgement. As trade marks are registered at national level and at the EU, McDonald’s does not lose all of its protection for the Big Mac. They also have the right to appeal, which we suspect they are likely to do.

Supermac’s forges ahead

For Supermac’s, all eyes are on the future. Mr McDonagh says: “This now opens the door for the decision to be made by the European trade mark office to allow us to use our SuperMac as a burger across Europe.”

A representative from EIP, an intellectual property law firm, Carissa-Kendall Windless, says: “This decision is a significant one, partly because it serves as a warning to multinational companies that they can no longer simply file trade mark applications without a genuine intention to use it”.

It’s inevitable that McDonald’s will exercise its right to appeal, and it will be interesting to see how this David and Goliath battle goes on this year.

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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4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

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Customer experience is much more than a one-time interaction. It’s an ongoing process that requires your business to think critically about how you can improve every interaction with your customers. Your customers should feel valued and understood at every step of the way, from first contact to the final sale. If you’re reading this, you know that customer experience is essential to the success of your business. It goes beyond surface-level niceties like “hello” and “thank you.” Instead, CX involves a 360-degree view of how customers perceive your company from beginning to end. These customer experience tips will help you streamline your interactions and give your customers the kind of service they want to return to.

Make it easy for customers to do business with you.

Never make your customers feel like they’re jumping through hoops to interact with you. Instead, make it easy for them to find and use your customer touchpoints—your website, social media channels, or physical storefront. Don’t forget about accessible payment options for your website and store to allow for multiple payment methods. Whether you include options to pay via PayPal or you need high risk merchant services due to poor business credit, pay attention to what you offer.

This applies to your customer service interactions as well. Make sure you have a clear way for customers to reach you through email, phone, a contact form, or some combination of the three. Be sure to include your hours of operation and any steps customers need to take to resolve their issues as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

Make sure your contact channels are functioning well.

Make sure you have a way for customers to reach you both during regular business hours and after business hours (if applicable). Ensure your phone system is working correctly, your emails are always sent, and your website or any other online contact form is easy to use. Additionally, make sure you’re responding to customers promptly. If you’re doing everything else right, but if your contact channels are a mess, you’ll end up with many frustrated customers. No one likes to feel ignored.

Offer solutions to problems, not just products or services

It’s essential to offer products, services, and solutions to your customer’s problems and concerns. When speaking with customers, focus on their challenges and how your products or services can resolve them. Remember that customer service isn’t just about sales. It’s about resolving customers’ concerns about your company, products, or services—even if they aren’t ready to buy yet. Your goal is to create a lifelong relationship, not just a single transaction.

Establish trust through transparency and authenticity

Trust is crucial for building a strong customer experience. Be transparent about your policies and your products—this means disclosing any potential risks or downsides as well. Be authentic in how you interact with your customers. You should always be yourself, even if that means you’re not the best salesperson or occasionally make a mistake. Customers will respect your authenticity, which builds trust and loyalty.

Summing up

If you take nothing else away from this article, this is the one thing you need to remember: your customer experience dictates your business’s future. Your customers don’t just experience your products or services once. They experience them throughout their entire relationship with you. Make sure you’re paying attention to every single touchpoint and listening to how you can improve. Put in the effort to improve your CX, and you’ll see the results in no time.

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David Faraco and Aquarius will create the First NFTs in Solidarity with Nature

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When it comes to the environment, we often think about ways to reduce our carbon footprint or recycle more. But what if there was a way to actually support the environment while also supporting your favorite artist? With NFT, now there is! NFT, or non-fungible tokens, are a new way to collect and trade digital art. And because they’re stored on the blockchain, they’re completely secure and immutable. That means that when you buy an NFT, you can be sure that you’re getting the real thing and that your purchase will support the artist directly. Plus, NFT are a great way to show your support for environmental causes. Aquarius and David Faraco are teaming up to create the first-ever nfts in solidarity with nature.

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. The term NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. NFT are unique, unlike traditional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which can be exchanged for goods or services. NFT have been gaining in popularity due to their ability to represent digital assets in a more secure way. For example, an artist could create an NFT of their work and sell it as a digital collectible. The benefits of using an NFT include the fact that they cannot be counterfeited and are tamper-proof. David Faraco Heredia, will be creating the first ever NFT in solidarity with nature. This project is aimed at helping to preserve our planet’s natural resources.

How will David Faraco’s NFT help nature?

In David Faraco’s native country of Costa Rica, nearly a quarter of the land is protected in some way by the government. This includes rainforests, national parks, and biological reserves. Now, with the help of blockchain technology, Faraco is hoping to do even more to protect the environment. Faraco is the founder of Aquarius Crypto Universe, a company that creates non-fungible tokens (NFT). NFT are digital assets that can be bought, sold, or traded like traditional cryptocurrencies. However, unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum, each NFT is unique and cannot be replicated. Aquarius will use NFT to create digital certificates of ownership for land and wildlife. These certificates will be stored on the blockchain, making them tamper-proof and impossible to forge.

What are the benefits of using NFT?

  1. According to David Faraco, the benefits of using NFT include “the ability to show provenance, the immutability of the data, and the trustless nature of the technology.”
  2. He claims that by using NFT, we can “create a more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants.”
  3. Faraco believes that NFT “have the potential to revolutionize how we interact with and value Nature.”

David Faraco, CEO of Aquarius Crypto Universe, has announced that they will be creating the first ever NFT in solidarity with nature. This comes as a response to the growing environmental crisis and the need for new ways to support and protect our planet. NFT are unique and cannot be exchanged for another currency. This makes them ideal for supporting causes and organizations, like Aquarius, that are working to make a difference. These NFT will be available for purchase on Aquarius’ website and will help support their environmental initiatives.

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How to segment your customers for better results

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Segmentation is classifying your audience by a relevant characteristic. This makes the strategy target prospects that could buy your product and increases the effectiveness of the campaigns.

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy where segmentation is possible, as the best managers offer this possibility.

Why segment?

Segmentation is one of the marketing challenges facing companies today, because many are not used to it.

Until a few decades ago, advertising possibilities were limited to television, radio and newspaper commercials. These commercials reached all audiences equally. If the commercial was about women’s clothing, it was seen by men and boys alike. But the internet changed that.

Today, digital marketing offers great possibilities to segment the audience, so that everyone receives the information that is of interest and useful to them.

Some examples of segmentation are the following:

  • An appliance shop sends a special discount only to customers who are finishing paying for a product purchased in their shop.
  • A department store sends a toy catalogue to parents subscribed to its mailing list for the Christmas season.
  • A bookshop sends a newsletter with a discount coupon to parents with school-age children at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Invitations to an event on shop in a specific city, but only to subscribers who live in that city.

With these strategies you want the message to hit the target and get a lot of conversion, for this Mailrelay offers tools to segment the list in an easy and effective way. Thanks to this mass email software, you will be able to successfully segment your users in just a few minutes.

How to get a segmented mailing list?

At the time of the campaign, you can include some questions to find out some characteristics of the customer. For example, the name and surname, city, interests, etc.

Be careful with the questions, because they can dissuade the customer from subscribing, so you should only include the most important ones.

After subscribing, the customer may be asked to answer a survey, in which additional questions may be asked, but this should also be done with care, as it may be uncomfortable. It should always be optional and if the subscriber does not answer it at the first attempt, do not insist.

Another strategy to get the information we want is a contest. For this, you have to establish a very attractive prize that the subscribers appreciate very much.

Finally, purchasing habits can provide information. If a customer regularly buys products for cars, we can intuit that they own one, and we can design offers for them.

What are the advantages of audience segmentation?

The main advantage is that you gain in effectiveness, with segmentation you reach the specific customer who is in a position to buy. This allows you to design a direct message that speaks to the customer according to their needs and facilitates the sale.

It also happens that the message does not reach people who may consider it inappropriate. For example, if we have a mailing list with customers from a department store, and we are going to launch a campaign for women’s clothing, the men who receive it could mark it as spam, which would affect the company’s marketing plans.

In addition, segmentation generates greater engagement, as the customer feels that you are talking to him or her about his or her needs and concerns. Talking directly to subscribers is the best way to get closer to them and make them loyal customers.

Recommendations for segmenting your customers

  • If you are planning an email marketing campaign, it is very important that you do a proper and effective segmentation. For this, it is very important that you choose a mailing manager that has good segmentation tools.
  • Establish strategies for each segment of your audience, so that you get new niches to develop your business. Knowing the possibilities of your brand and the needs of your customers is fundamental to design strategies that will be profitable.
  • Combine the segmentation of the email marketing campaign with an excellent social media management, in order to achieve the appropriate proximity to make the relationship between the brand and the public strong. Social media is booming and is also a form of direct communication that can be very cost-effective.
  • The conformation of groups should be established strategically, this can be by gender, location, preferences, socioeconomic level, activity, etcetera. These groups should be very well differentiated and their distribution should be related to the business in question.

How to get better results from a segmented campaign?

If you have established an email marketing campaign for one of the groups you have defined in your list, the following tips can help you achieve better results:

  • Choose the right frequency according to the product and the characteristics of the group. A poorly chosen frequency can be counterproductive, if there are too many messages, it could lead to unsubscribes and if they are too infrequent, the message could be lost.
  • Analyse the metrics provided by the email marketing manager, with this information you will know if the campaign is giving results and have clues about what the problem may be, if there is one.
  • If it is a campaign of several newsletters, you can place a button for the subscriber to indicate if they are not interested in the campaign, that way you can remove them from the campaign and prevent them from unsubscribing from the list.
  • Surveys are a great tool, as they capture relevant information from customers. If they are applied, they should contain only one question, maximum 2, and always a selection by clicking on an answer option. Do not overuse surveys because they could generate unsubscribes.

If you are going to implement an email marketing campaign, segmentation is necessary to get the best possible results. We recommend you start researching today the most appropriate segmentation of your customers. You will be able to achieve great results with just a little effort. 

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