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October Luncheon: A Crash Course in IP Law for Creatives

October Luncheon: A Crash Course in IP Law for Creatives

AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

About the Presenter

Paul A. Forsyth is a patent attorney with Pitts & Lake, PC, a law firm in Knoxville, Tennessee that focuses on intellectual property law. Paul assists and advises clients in all aspects of protecting their intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Duke University in 2004 and his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 2007.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property can come in a variety of forms including trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents. Put simply, IP encompasses any creation or innovation by a company that is creative and intangible. There are a myriad of laws and regulations in place to protect and maintain the integrity of each company’s intellectual property. Two of the most important protections for creatives, which we’ll discuss below, are trademarks and copyrights.

Trademarks

The goal of a trademark is to protect your “mark” (for instance, your logo) and your brand. A trademark can be defined as any word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify and distinguish the sources of goods of one party from those of others and prevent confusion in the marketplace. Trademarked graphics and terms are commonly denoted with a ™ or ® symbol (depending on registration status.)

The ability to register a trademark and keep it protected lies in the strength of the word or mark you’re hoping to protect. The most generic brand names (like Bread Company, for example) are not typically eligible for trademark protection due to the broad nature of those words. You can strengthen your protection by keeping your brand’s name and logo descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, and fanciful. 

To register a trademark with the US Patent & Trademark Office, you’ll need to prove that your prospective trademark is being used in commerce and that it has a secondary meaning in the minds of consumers (not merely descriptive of goods/services). If approved, your registered trademark status will prevent others from using confusingly similar marks on related goods or services for 10 years from the date of registration. You’ll also be able to apply for unlimited 10-year renewals with continued use of the mark.

With this protection, you’ll be able to bring action in federal court against those who infringe on your trademark, obtain foreign registration of your trademark using your U.S. Status as a basis, and prevent the importation of counterfeit or infringing products at the border.

Copyrights

Copyrights are another form of protection for intellectual property, but with a very different purpose than trademarks. A copyright is intended to protect original works of authorship and the expression of an idea (as opposed to the idea itself.) When registering a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, you must simply provide the expression of work fixed in a tangible form for review.

If approved, your copyright will exclude others from copying or using this form of expression as their own for a period of time. That period is typically the life of the author plus 70 years but, in situations where work-for-hire is being copyrighted, the period is the shorter of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. Once the term of a copyright is up, that piece of work enters the public domain.

Examples of common business projects that might merit copyright protection include:

  • Literature, music, and art
  • Products which are purely decorative in nature
  • Instruction manuals and product packaging
  • Artwork and/or literature associated with marketing materials
  • Three-dimensional displays                                                 

With protection from a copyright, the owner will have exclusive access to reproduce the work, create derivative works based on the original, distribute copies of the works to the public, perform the work publicly, display the work publicly, and give authorization to others to do the same.

No matter how you choose to protect your work, it’s important as a creative to protect the work you create to the best of your ability. In most cases, a trademark or copyright will provide the protection you need against copycats and unauthorized reproductions on your original work or unique brand. 


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events and to purchase your tickets.

September Luncheon: Effective Strategies for Handling a Crisis

September Luncheon: Effective Strategies for Handling a Crisis

Our September luncheon was co-sponsored by the Volunteer Chapter of PRSA featuring a panel of PR and communications professionals. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

 

Meet the Panelists

Dylan Jones has over 20 years of experience in strategic communications roles at leading global organizations, with extensive experience of mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, strategic positioning, complex litigation, executive transitions, and industry disruption.

Prior to founding Boldsquare, a strategic communications practice, Jones was chief communications officer for Scripps Networks Interactive, the parent company of media brands including HGTV and Food Network.

Mary Ellen Miller has worked as a full-time public relations contractor to the Tennessee Valley Authority for the Boone Dam project in Kingsport, Tennessee, for the past seven years. She is an accredited public relations professional and lifelong professional communicator.

A former television news anchor for WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tennessee, Miller has held marketing and public relations leadership positions at businesses in the Tri-Cities including Nuclear Fuel Services, Hunter, Smith & Davis law firm, and East Tennessee State University.

Gail E. Rymer is currently the principal and owner of Gail Rymer Strategic Communications in Knoxville. Prior to starting her consulting business in 2019, she worked 45 years in corporate communications for such companies as Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority managing multi-site communications and community relations programs.

Rymer has led organizations and teams in strategic public relations, served as press secretary, and provided communications counsel to senior management on issues ranging from environmental releases and health and safety concerns to sensitive issues such as workplace violence.

 

Effective Strategies for Handling a Crisis Q&A

In the current climate of instant notifications of news, fake news, and distrust of companies, business people, and politicians, PR professionals have their work cut out for them.

Combine this with some of the recent reputation management crises involving celebrities being fired from networks due to controversial statements, sexual harassment allegations, and a host of other public missteps, and it is clear that effective public relations strategies are critical for managing these situations.

Please note: questions and panelist responses are summarized

Q: It’s a broad term, but what exactly does “crisis communications” mean to each of you?

MM: There is a Chinese expression that two characters line up to make the word “crisis” – danger and opportunity. I don’t speak Chinese so I’m not sure if that’s true, but it really exemplifies what crisis communication is.

GR: Most crisis communicators deal with “fire drills” on a regular basis, whether those are true emergencies or reputational crises. When you’re faced with communicating in a crisis, processes and existing relationships (both with your network and the public) are key to make sure you are up to the challenge.

DJ: The ultimate sign of a crisis is seeing people either metaphorically or literally running out of a building. Crisis communicators are the ones running in to solve the problem and handle the situation.

Q: Thinking back on all the crises that you have handled, what has been an “A-ha!” moment where you found success? What was a failure you learned from?

DJ: Every crisis is different so you can have general crisis plans, but the reality is you’ll always need to deviate from that plan. There are too many companies who are rigid in their approach to a crisis and are too quick to make remarks. Instead, take a beat. Crisis management does require speed, but it’s worthwhile to take a moment to fully understand the situation and gather all the available information before responding. 

GR: The “a-ha” moment typically comes after the crisis when you’re reflecting on what went well and what could have gone better. Whether it’s with a team or just on your own, take a moment to reflect after each new challenge and incorporate the things you learned moving forward so that you’re continually improving. I was given three key reminders by a mentor that I would encourage everyone to keep in mind:

  • No surprises.
  • Who else needs to know?
  • Don’t listen to respond; listen to understand.

MM: General Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable” and I think that’s true in crisis communications as well. We always need to be flexible and ready to think on our feet, but planning and preparation are essential parts of the process too. 

Q: My company is in the middle of litigation over a patent and we’re pretty sure we’re going to win. What do you all think of the situation?

DJ: When you have a situation like this, you can plan for most of the potential outcomes. If you win, certainly be confident of your IP but you don’t need to make a show of it. In any messaging around this litigation, think about your end users, clients, future clients, etc… and how that communication is going to impact them.

GR: Be firm in your stance on protecting your IP but also be sympathetic with the person/company suing you. Understand that if they lose the suit, they’ll be walking away with nothing to show for their efforts. If the media is involved, you always want to make sure to be honest and back up any comments you make with facts, not taunts. 

Q: How do you manage the internal team and keep everyone on message during a crisis?

DJ: You have to accept that the reality of communication today is that everyone has an opinion and they’re going to express it. Communicate quickly and directly to your internal team and provide talking points and as many facts as possible. If you can’t get your own team on board with what you’re saying, what are your chances of getting others to believe it?

MM: Designate a few spokespeople. Have cross-functional business meetings with representatives from many areas of the company who will be impacted by a certain project or issue so that everyone stays informed.

Q: How do you as a practitioner deal with a lack of buy-in from leadership?

DJ: Leaders are generally driven by results. It’s easy to see the negative impact of poor communications so it’s important to show them the detrimental effects of their actions (or inaction.) It’s also important to find what motivates your leader and follow those routes to communicate with them.

GR: Unfortunately, sometimes leaders and management must learn the hard way about what can go wrong when they don’t follow the plan. There are plenty of horror stories out there about companies whose leadership has hurt their value due to poor communication so you can share those as a cautionary tale.

MM: It’s ideal to position yourself with leadership as a trusted counselor. At the end of the day, as Dylan mentioned, it can all come down to simple analytics and measurements that you can share with your leadership.

Q: We talk about proactivity and prevention as the best way to handle a crisis and environmental scanning is an important part of this. Have you found any environmental scanning tools or strategies that you love?

MM: Active listening to your community (sitting in on community meetings, building relationships with your neighborhood, etc…) is the best way to anticipate the future of trends and crises.

DJ: There are plenty of digital tools out there for social listening, but you have to be sure you’re ready to receive that information and act on it.

GR: I agree that listening is key, whether that’s to your audience, customers, internal team, etc… and recognizing trends in the responses you’re hearing.

Q: What are your tips for relating to the media, especially if media relations aren’t a regular part of your business and you don’t have existing relationships?

GR: Respond promptly, especially if the reporter has a deadline. Answer the questions that you can honestly and in the most effective way possible. The only way you’re going to get your position out is to provide a response – saying “no comment” in itself is showing a position. 

MM: If possible, start building those relationships with your local media. Keeping your name in front of them, especially when you can share a positive story from your company, will build rapport.

DJ: You have to build non-transactional relationships with the media; don’t just call them when you need them. A lifelong relationships with those people and companies will serve you well when you do need something from them.

Q: Are community or social media ambassadors helpful in crisis communication?

GR: Ambassadors are going to be incredible tools in helping to spread your message to the community. Whether those are community members or employees, they’re going to be your best and most trusted advocates.

Q: What are your top three pieces of advice that we should take away from this discussion?

DJ: Gather information as quickly as you can, make sure that you’ve rehearsed and prepared people to speak on your behalf, and be transparent with your audience.

GR: I’ve mentioned a few throughout the discussion, but my top takeaway would be that consistent messaging over time is key. You audience should expect to hear the same underlying message from you yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

 


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events and to purchase your tickets.

June Luncheon: Responding to Changes in the Media Landscape

June Luncheon: Responding to Changes in the Media Landscape

Caitland Orlicz, president-elect of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our June luncheon featuring Natalia Havasy and Katy Davis of WATE to discuss trends in media consumption pre- and post-pandemic. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

AMA Knoxville also offers certificate programs through the University of Tennessee which are excellent for increasing your knowledge and building your resume. You can sign up for those courses here: http://noncredit.utk.edu/ 

 

About the Presenters

Natalia Havasy, Local Sales Manager at WATE – TV6 (ABC), is a Knoxville native. Natalia earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee. After working at a national media rep firm in Atlanta after school, she returned to Knoxville and became an Account Executive at WATE in 2009 transitioning to Regional Account Director for 3 years until her current role as LSM in June of 2021. She is married to Houston, a Deputy Law Director for Knox County, and has two amazing children (Castle and Dorothy) and a dog named Alice.

Katy Davis, Digital Sales Director at WATE – TV6 (ABC), was born and raised in Knoxville. Katy earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee in 2012. Her first job after college was at Cumulus Media in Knoxville where she sold advertising for NewsTalk 98.7 and the Sports Animal. She became an Account Executive at WATE in 2014 transitioning to Digital Sales Manager for 4 years until she moved into her current role as DSD in July of 2021. She is married to Jarrett Davis, who while not working as the Catering Kitchen Manager for Buddy’s BBQ, is busy remaining the calm, supportive rock of the family. They have two rowdy and incredible children, Jackson (6) and Llewellyn (2).

WATE is owned by Nexstar Media Group, Inc., America’s largest local television and media company with 200 broadcast stations (including partner stations) in 116 markets addressing more than 68% of U.S. television households and a growing digital media operation.

 

Pre-Pandemic Media Habits

Media has clearly changed significantly over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic demanded changes at a pace previously unseen in the industry.

Pre-covid roughly three hours per day was spent on TV with lesser time spent on the internet, reading newspapers, or consuming other forms of media. In 2020, when shelter in place orders were rolled out, this balance was turned on its head. TV viewership soared, especially in local markets, as people looked for constant updates and the latest news. Not only was there astronomical growth in viewership, these viewers were tuning in at times that were inconsistent with the expected routines. Although 5:00 AM news broadcasts had typically been powerhouse shows, they dipped in popularity as people worked from home and no longer needed to get up as early to start their day. Instead, the 8:00 AM broadcasts became significantly more popular.

 

Responding to the Changing Media Environment

Radio listenership also decreased during this time as those who would typically tune into a morning radio broadcast on their way to work were no longer making that commute and, instead, favoring mediums like podcasts.

Social media usage grew as well, and with it the need for differentiation grew as well. Instead of posting the same content to social media that’s broadcast on the evening news, journalists took the opportunity to produce content that’s tailored to each platform and provides up-to-the-minute information. 

For the first time, OTT (or, over the top) providers of streaming services became the most popular method of media consumption since viewers could access the information they wanted exactly when they wanted it. Because of the exceptional growth in OTT, the media landscape was changed forever. To help this content reach its audience in the most effective and efficient way, additional technologies like content delivery networks (CDNs) were in high demand.

Additionally (at least in the Knoxville market) it was shown that more viewers were tuning in to see local broadcasts than were watching national news programs like Fox News or CNN as they looked for local authorities to inform them of the latest updates from their area.

 

Post-Pandemic Insights

As previously mentioned, the changes that took effect during the COVID-19 pandemic were industry-changing for the media and these changes weren’t temporary. After a meteoric rise in early 2020, media consumption has still not decreased back to its former numbers. Consumption of all kinds of media plateaued and has stayed consistent after reaching the peak of its growth.

Not all platforms saw audience growth, however. Facebook and Instagram especially experienced little or no growth while TikTok and Snapchat skyrocketed in popularity during this time. During the pandemic, Facebook struggled with its image in light of the “fake news” outbreak on its platform. This led many people to seek relief from the platform and its argumentative nature in these more lighthearted platforms that were able to give media consumers a break from the world.

Ultimately, it’s clear that the mix of media consumed by any individual has been redistributed and will continue to include many more types of media than it might have before the pandemic. This shift will require advertisers to continue being flexible and adaptive to the needs of their customers and ensure their promotional materials show up in front of the right consumers on the right platform at the right time. 

The media landscape has been forever altered and it’s up to each of us, as marketers, to keep pace with the changing needs and preferences of media consumers.

 


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287 

May Luncheon: The Only Constant in SEO is Change

May Luncheon: The Only Constant in SEO is Change

Holly Yalove, president of AMA Knoxville, welcomed participants to our May luncheon featuring Jill Werderitch, SEO Manager for Discovery, Inc. AMA Knoxville brings together marketing minds from Knoxville and surrounding counties for professional development, networking, and educational opportunities. The chapter also invests in future marketers by awarding scholarships to marketing students at the University of Tennessee with our Eagle Endowment. Holly recognized the AMA board of directors, volunteers, and annual sponsors (Slamdot, Colby’s Photography, Larson SMB Consulting, and HumblePod) who make these events possible.

AMA Knoxville also offers certificate programs through the University of Tennessee which are excellent for increasing your knowledge and building your resume. You can sign up for those courses here: http://noncredit.utk.edu/

About the Presenter 

Currently leading the global SEO content strategy for Discovery, Inc. as SEO Manager, Jill Werderitch champions organic traffic growth for lifestyle and entertainment brands like Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, TLC, and the DTC streaming platform discovery+. With over 12+ years in digital content and SEO, she has conquered the search marketing game. That is, until it changes, and it’s always changing. A midwestern transplant, she resides in Knoxville, TN where she’s likely to be found front stage at a concert, taste testing the city’s latest culinary creations or on a hiking trail with her corgi, Opie.

What is SEO?

If you’ve been in marketing for any length of time, you know that SEO (or search engine optimization) touches nearly every aspect of your website and online presence. Put simply, it’s the process of building organic visibility of your website in search engines like Google.

SEO’s essential factors includes:

  • Indexing content with tools like Google Search Console
  • Written content on your web pages
  • Site speed and performance
  • And more!

Where Does SEO Happen?

Most companies, including Discovery, Inc. choose to focus their SEO efforts on Google which drives the most searches across the web with over 70,000 searches each second. Other search engines include Bing and Yahoo, although their usage is significantly smaller.

Recently, Google has shifted to a mobile-first search algorithm which prioritizes the mobile version of your site over the desktop version as the majority of searches are happening on mobile devices. It’s important to keep this in mind as you develop content for website users on both desktop and mobile devices.

Essential SEO Considerations

Although search engine optimization is no simple task and requires ongoing attention and improvements, there are a few things we’d recommend keeping in mind as you work to improve your ranking in search engines.

Backend considerations:

  • Use a secure domain (https:// vs. http://)
  • Don’t put important text in mediums that Google can’t crawl (like images)
  • Don’t use complex JavaScript or Flash that Google can’t crawl
  • Condense media sizes so they don’t impact page load
  • Use schema markup where appropriate
  • Use Google’s URL inspection tool to find out where you might have issues that need to be addressed

Frontend considerations:

  • Build a clean and easy to use site architecture (not too deep in subcategories) and keep it organized well so Google can crawl it easily
  • Include target terms (keywords) in your URL and title tag
  • Use alt tags on all images (this tells Google what the image isn’t about since they can’t crawl the image itself)
  • Use headings, lists, etc.. where possible to make content easily scannable and break up large blocks of text
  • Don’t use duplicate content on your site or across the web
  • Include internal links in your copy to other relevant content 

External considerations:

  • Social sharing and engagement can factor into your search engine ranking
  • Backlinks from authoritative or similar websites can increase your domain’s authority
  • Promotional messaging offsite can generate uncharacteristic spikes in traffic

How to Stay Agile in the Search Industry

Keep up with the latest technology and tools that are at your disposal to diagnose and improve your site’s search engine performance. This includes things like:

  • Google’s Core Web Vitals Report which allows you to inspect your site for performance metrics that impact your ranking like cumulative layout shift, first contentful paint, and more
  • Google Search Console which allows you to monitor your site’s performance, submit your sitemap for consideration by Google, and understand how your site is indexed
  • Algorithm updates which are usually not announced, but, in the event that you do have advance notice, be sure you pay attention and prepare your site and content accordingly to ensure to traffic is lost

Develop a content strategy that is based on topical and keyword research. You can use tools like Google Trends to understand what people are searching for in your industry and understand which topics offer the highest potential to boost your rankings. You’ll want to pre-plan your content calendar but ensure that your topics are timely. As you plan out your content, be aware of Google’s new passage indexing function (instead of needing several different URLs for different keyword targets, Google can now understand and index several keywords in a single page and bring searchers directly to the passage that’s relevant to their search.)

Take advantage of available tools that can direct additional traffic to your site. This might include things like Google Discover and Google News. To make sure your content is optimized for these spaces, you’ll want to be sure that you’re using high quality images that will attract searchers to your content. 

Follow these recommended blogs and informational outlets to stay up to date on the latest developments in search engines:

Use available analytics tools to understand your own performance and that of your competitors. Free tools like Google Analytics are a great way to start collecting data and analyzing your site. As you grow, however, you may want to use a paid tool like SEMrush or BrightEdge that allows you to track more customized metrics and even understand the performance of your competitors.


Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this event, we’d love to see you at our upcoming luncheons and events including:

6/8/2022: Media Consumption: Trends before and after Covid

Keep an eye on our Eventbrite page for more information on upcoming events: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ama-knoxville-4371428287  

Thank You for Attending AMA Knoxville’s 32nd Annual Honors Ceremony

As a chapter, we want to express our appreciation to all who were able to attend our 32nd Annual Honors Gala. During this memorable event, Knoxville’s marketing community came together to enjoy the evening and honor award recipients. Two very special honors were presented – the annual Outstanding Marketing Professional award and Outstanding Marketing Student of the Year.

The Outstanding Marketing Professional is a lifetime achievement award presented to an individual who has made meaningful and innovative contributions to our community and in the field of marketing. Past recipients include Jim Clayton, James A. Haslam, II, Townes Lavidge Osborn and Pat Summitt, to name a few.

Honorees included: 

    • Outstanding Marketing Professional: Tom Catani, US Cellular’s Head of Broadband Opportunities & Policy
    • 2022 Outstanding Marketing Students of the Year: Preston Pigue & Lygia Karagiozis 
    • 2021 Outstanding Marketing Students of the Year: Timothy Bell & Matt McCaig
    • 2020 Outstanding Marketing Students of the Year: Chloe Pigue & Kassidy Stroom 

During the event, we also recognized AMA board members that go the extra mile. Three very special awards were presented – The President’s Award, chosen by the current AMA Knoxville President, was created to recognize outstanding service by a Chapter volunteer. The Locander Award, named in honor of AMA Knoxville founder Dr. William B. Locander, is presented to an individual who has provided extraordinary service to the Chapter. The STAR Award, which stands for Special Thanks And Recognition, is given when a board member goes above and beyond to accomplish a particular goal or task.

Honorees included:

    • 2022 AMA President’s Award: Caitland Orticz
    • 2022 STAR Award: Cherie Larson
    • 2022 Locander Award: Jess Gutman

About the Eagle Endowment

In December 1990, AMA Knoxville created The Eagle Endowment for Marketing Education as a means to build a permanent fund from which half the income would be distributed annually, and the other half reinvested, to provide scholarships for outstanding marketing students at The University of Tennessee. Our annual Honors Ceremony is the primary fundraiser for the Chapter’s Eagle Endowment. Through the years, AMA Knoxville has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to UT students, and we look forward to continuing to invest in our community’s next generation of marketers.

Ready to Make an Impact?

Your support makes it possible for us to continue providing scholarships to deserving students like those who were honored at our 32nd Annual Honors Gala. To make a contribution, please visit our website and support the Eagle Endowment fund.

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