Channeling Your Brand’s IP to Unify and Scale
To capitalize on engagement and fandom, brands such as Walmart, John Deere and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions are recognizing the power of their Intellectual Property (IP) to boost brand value through digital experiences that strengthen the brands’ position via digital investments, strategic partnerships and acquisitions.
In addition to trademarks, patents, or copyrights, the foundation of IP is based on tangible brand elements consisting of brand and product names, logos, and proprietary content and messaging, as well as intangible elements, including values, associations, voice and tone, and emotional connections to the brand, its personality or customer experience.
Some brands are relying on their own IP and a partner’s through intellectual property mashups to unify and scale engagement, content and experiences in order to deepen their relationships with audiences.
“I think that Walmart showing up in this way is just another example of how we’re thinking about what’s next, how we’re reimagining unique, innovative ways to engage with our customers.”
Earlier this week, Walmart announced its entrance into the metaverse with two brand experiences on Roblox, “Walmart Land” and “Universe of Play, as a way to engage with Generation Alpha and Gen Z shoppers through gamification and immersive experiences.
These virtual playgrounds within Roblox will let these younger Walmart customers collect virtual merchandise, play games featuring toys and characters, attend live concerts, and participate in fashion challenges.
Walmart’s CMO William White explains here about why it is doing this: “This is another step of reaching our customers in unexpected ways and in the places where they’re spending their time. We are excited to be one of the first major retailers to do this. I think that Walmart showing up in this way is just another example of how we’re thinking about what’s next, how we’re reimagining unique, innovative ways to engage with our customers.”
John Deere, the 185-year-old industrial agricultural and forestry equipment and consumer lawn care line is using its IP to help accelerate its digital transformation. To empower its customers and employees to experience its products firsthand, John Deere has created a virtual tractor driving experience that brings together the digital and physical worlds through the user’s phone.
Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has built his own production company, Omaha Productions. By utilizing his own IP as a successful NFL player and analyst, likable personality and sense of humor, he’s been able to sign clients, ranging from ESPN, the NFL and Caesars Sportsbook, to content and podcast deals.
“The challenge for brands is that customers want them to build, experiment with and participate in increasingly deeper and more engaging experiences. It will become even more important for brands to remove those barriers that exists within the current brand that prohibits creating these experiences.”
I asked Craig Elimeliah, Chief Experience Design Officer at VMLY&R, about his thoughts on the importance of IP and what brands and companies need to understand: “The challenge for brands is that customers want them to build, experiment with and participate in increasingly deeper and more engaging experiences. It will become even more important for brands to remove those barriers that exists within the current brand that prohibits creating these experiences,” he said.
He elaborated further by referring to this as “Brand Interoperability.” “Brand Interoperability will provide brands and companies with the stories, assets and experiences and that bring with them value beyond just one particular platform”
Using IP to Prioritize Acquisitions, Investments and Partnerships
To fully understand the Brand Interoperability concept, see below how two polar opposite organizations, the NBA and Schneider Electric, are using their IP to prioritize their acquisitions, investments and partnerships to address strategic growth and business goals.
These studies, conducted by CBInsights, show how each brand and company focused on new business areas that expanded their footprint into other sectors to displace competitors, or by aligning with new content channels to increase media revenue, ad sales and to reach new audience segments.
Organizations should consider using the above examples as a way to explore how and where their own IP can be used to harness deeper and more meaningful customer engagements. Perhaps start by mapping out which areas of acquisition, digital investments and partnerships present the greatest likelihood to align with or scale your own IP. It’s a simple exercise to identify new ways of expanding your content and brand or expose new business growth.
Questions? Please feel free to email me here. As always, thank you for reading.
Photo by Fausto García-Menéndez on Unsplash