Do Your Research First – Lessons from the National Speakers Association Platform Rebrand and Michael Hyatt

Thu, Jul 3, 2014

Marketing, Perspective

Do Your Research First – Lessons from the National Speakers Association Platform Rebrand and Michael Hyatt

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.

Thanks to Mike Kim for the Image

On July 2, 1014 the National Speakers Association unveiled that they were changing their brand / name from “National Speakers Association” to… wait for it… PLATFORM. – See that post here.

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.

Just look at some of the responses people are posting on the National Speakers Instagram reveal… or on Michael Hyatt’s Facebook page… or on Twitter… or Mike Kim’s great post here.

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.

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    About Daniel Decker:

    Daniel Decker is President of Higher Level Group, Inc., a strategic marketing and development firm that helps authors, professional speakers, and organizations who are doing good to expand their influence. LINKS: Follow @DanielDecker on Twitter | Visit the "About" Page | Subscribe to the Blog and get updates via RSS or Email.

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    • Jennifer Tubbiolo

      Great post, Daniel. However, I don’t know that lack of research is the real problem. Let’s face it, if they are part of this industry (which they obviously are) they should’ve already known about Michael’s NY Times bestselling book, conference by the SAME name, and membership site. It shouldn’t have taken any research at all to know that it would cause huge confusion and cast them in a bad light to use the name Platform. It actually makes them look like they have been living under a rock for the last several years. Bad branding advice straight up.

      • Daniel Decker


      • ConnieBennett

        Totally true. All you needed to do was one simple Google search to learn that Michael has the platform on “Platform.”

    • Helen Mitternight

      Agree with Jennifer Tubbiolo that it is bad branding advice. Not just for the reasons she states but because, to me, it doesn’t speak to what the National Speakers Assn is KNOWN for. They aren’t about the METHOD of getting the content out (i.e. the platform), they are about the CONTENT (i.e. what the speakers are peddling). So not only is it a bad branding decision from a “have they been under a rock” standpoint, but also from a “what the heck are they selling” standpoint.

      • Daniel Decker

        Great points Helen. I agree fully. Seems strange from the outside looking in but perhaps they have some sort of reason for their rhyme. : )

    • Joseph Iliff of SeekOutWisdom

      I think NSA trying to use the name Platform by itself (separate from others use of it) is somewhat weak. NSA sounds institutional and authoritative, and Platform sounds vague, in that context. Add to that the use of Platform by Hyatt, and it seems like a troubled idea. Add to that a weak rollout, as several NSA members I know said they had no idea it was coming, and some social media silence in response to comments, and it all adds up to a mess. I’ve even seen NSA members say it doesn’t meet NSA’s own ethical standards for their members.

      And, I would love to see someone else pick up the NSA identity they have now discarded and use it. It would be interesting to see if they would protest that for causing brand confusion in the marketplace. That would be a difficult argument to make, since they have so thoroughly made the case for dropping it and using an identity so similar to someone else’s.

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    • ConnieBennett

      That was a really wonderful, thoughtful post, Daniel. I’m so glad you posted it! Frankly, I’m so annoyed with NSA! I was at the National Speakers Association convention earlier this week, and I was simply astounded by the announcement! See my blog posts (in which I mentioned you). and

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    • ConnieBennett
    • William

      Does anyone really thing that they didn’t do research and that this was a simple oversight. I think they’ve pretty clearly signaled that it was intentional

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