Whenever you are looking to create something new… a logo, product, event or whatever… do your research first. Go to Google and search the name, the keyword, etc. of what you are looking to create. Check and see who is already doing it or who might be doing something similar. Then consider the implications of doing what you are looking to do IF someone else is already doing it. Can you modify your name? Can you modify your scope? Whatever you do, just don’t copy what someone else is doing… especially when it comes to their look and use.
Case in point… Michael Hyatt has spent the last several years building a brand known as PLATFORM. He wrote the New York Times bestselling book (which I helped launch), aptly titled PLATFORM, that was released in May 2012. He also has the Platform Conference, Platform University and many other “Platform” centric initiatives that have been ongoing for some time. He has clearly defined himself as the go-to “Platform” guy in the marketplace for authors, speakers and anyone else with something to say or sell.
But here’s the thing… it’s not that they just changed the name to PLATFORM, it’s that the branding (logo, etc) looks strikingly similar to what Michael Hyatt already has been using… for several years. Down to the similar color scheme, font, and talk bubble useage.
I’m scratching my head on this one honestly. I’d hate to think that an organization as solid as the NSA would rip off someone else’s brand, especially someone as well known and established as Michael Hyatt, but I just can’t see how they wouldn’t have known. If you Google “Platform” Michael Hyatt’s stuff is at the top of the page.
Beyond all that… On a general branding note, I’m also surprised that the National Speakers Association would change their name to something so drastically removed from their core. Removing “Speakers” was a defining keyword and niche that they excelled in. They obviously want to expand their “platform” and reach but doing so in this way was a major miscalculation, at best.
Let this be a lesson for us all. Do your research first and regardless of trademark issues… there is the court of public opinion which will ultimately make or break the brand, especially when they are in a similar marketplace. You need to consider that.
And… if you do run up against something like this, respond quickly and address the issue. If you were wrong, apologize and admit it. If it was a mistake, do the same. If you feel you are correct, blaze your trail but be willing to endure the consequences (good or bad). Either way, don’t remain silent. Silence creates a void that negativity often fills.
For the sake of the NSA, I hope they issue a response soon, do the right thing and avoid any further negative backlash. They are a great group and have impacted many in a positive way. I hope they land on the side of integrity here.