If you read this blog, you will know I am slightly obsessed with brand names.
And I seem to spend quite a bit of my time at work trying to persuade people not to obsess about their trade mark. As long as the name is legal (check here for the UK) and not owned by someone else in your area of business (search here to check), the only thing that matters is how memorable it is.
And you can’t get much more memorable than Ugly. This big and bold name certainly caught my eye as I browsed the drinks available in our restaurant at the British Library yesterday.
On visiting the Ugly Drinks website, I was glad to see a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section explaining their unusual name.
I haven’t yet managed to taste one of their range of drinks, but I’m looking forward to asking for an Ugly Drink.
According to Gaston Frydlweski and Mariquel Waingarten, the inventors of the Hickies Lacing System, no one will ever need to learn to tie a shoelace again.
This inventive way of keeping shoes on your feet was launched via a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. And they managed to raise over $150,000, six times more than their initial target.
Since then the company has sold over 2 millions sets in 45 countries, and continues to grow.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not quite ready to ditch my trusty old laces for this futuristic replacement. But I do admire the founders for persevering with their 20 year dream of improving how you lace you shoes.
Today is World Radio Day, created by the United Nations cultural body UNESCO to “remember the unique power of radio to touch lives, and bring people together across every corner of the globe”.
Given the global presence of social media and streaming television, it is perhaps a little surprising that such an old media as Radio remains so popular. In fact it is nearly 100 years since the BBC started regular radio broadcasts in the UK. And yet it’s flagship show the Today Program on Radio 4 is now more popular than ever with a weekly reach of 7.66 million listeners.
Fix Radio says it will provide music, banter and information targeted at bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, roofers, painters and decorators whether they work on building sites or in people’s homes.
The new station is the brainchild of Louis Timpany who came up with the concept while working on a building site to earn extra cash after graduating from Leeds University.
“I noticed builders listen to the radio all day but there was no one station they could all agree on,” says Louis. “I thought it would be great to create a station specifically with them in mind”. … “One thing that came out strongly, for example, was the need for detailed weather forecasts throughout the day as builders depend on knowing what the weather is going to be like to plan their work,” says Louis.
“The main weather forecasts on Fix Radio every day will, therefore, be very detailed and accurate – almost like the shipping forecast for tradespeople.”
Sponsorship and advertising packages have already been pre-sold for the first six months. “We can offer our commercial partners a very pure, very targeted audience so they can engage with their customers with little ‘wastage’ on people who don’t work in the trade,” says Louis.
Dusty Miller XIII and XIV are Master Elfin Craftsman from the “Saelig Silverdobbs”, a tribe which lived in Great Britain since the last Ice Age. Together they make “unique handcrafted magickal Tools which inhabit a benevolent Tree Spirit”.
The long line of family craftsmen goes back hundreds of years and the Millers have the same given name handed down from one generation to the next.
Dusty XIV explained: “We work for the tree spirits so they tell us where to go to collect a piece of wood and which tree to collect it from. “It’s all very complicated and often involves getting up in the middle of the night to be in the forest at daybreak.
“Why it always has to be daybreak I don’t know. Why can’t it be lunchtime?” he asked. “Trees don’t have lunch,” retorted his father, Dusty XIII.
Below are the current variations on the brand, with my favourites being The Frog & Rosbif and of course The Frog & British Library.THE FROG & ROSBIF
THE FROG & PRINCESS
THE FROG AT BERCY VILLAGE
THE FROG & BRITISH LIBRARY
FROG HOP HOUSE
THE FROG & UNDERGROUND
FROGBURGER IN PARIS
FROGPUBS IN BORDEAUX
I have long been a fan of great quotes, or aphorisms to give them their proper name. Dating back to well before I had even heard of that sophisticated word, and possibly triggered by this Monty Python Oscar Wilde Sketch.
I currently use three of my favourites quotes in my Introducing Social Media for Small Business Workshop at the British Library. The point being that if you are able to express something of relevance to your potential customers in just a few words (for instance less than the 140 characters required for Twitter) you are likely to be a success.
A great example is the website for my neice’s recently launched baking business Olivia Infield Cakes.
As you can see, Olivia is a very talented cake artist, but she is not a techie. I suggested she try using Squarespace to build her website. And after a few hours of work she produced this simple, but very professional looking site. It was a bit of a challenge for her, but because she knew what she wanted the pages to look like, she was able to work towards that goal using the built-in tools.
So many entrepreneurs I meet want to have a name that describes what their product does. But ironically the UK IPO may not allow you to register a name as a trade mark if “it is a descriptive word or term.”
For example Apple Inc would not be allowed to register their trade mark for fruit, as it would block everyone else from using the word apple. Much better is come up with a clever play on words that gets across what your product does. Even better if it achieves it in a fun way.
The name Ass Savers may not be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly is short, simple and memorable – the most important aspects of a trade mark.
So far the owners have only registered the name under Nice Class 12, Vehicles and Conveyances for Bicycle mudguards. So it looks as though they aren’t ready to take over the world with their brand just yet.
Update! 24 October 2017
One of our clients designer Roderick Brosse at the Business & IP Centre has just won the the top award at this weekend’s British Invention Show with a minimal mudguard. His “Mud Bug” won the Diamond Award for British Invention.
Roderick has yet to find a manufacturer for his impressive invention, so watch this space.
This time I am experimenting with an improved Hinge Clamp Kit from SpedDial. I had already created something of a bodge solution using springs and plastic metal.
I came across the invention after recently joining the Brompton Hacks Group on Facebook. A post from SpedDial creator Stephan Bianchi piqued my interest. The link to his website included a video demonstrating a much improved version of the Brompton clamp.
The key is the dimpled handle which allows you spin it around really quickly.
I expressed my interest to Stephan and he explained he had sent a batch to Brilliant Bikes in Chobham. I rang them to order a set, but they hadn’t arrived. Soon after I received an email asking if I would like to test out SpedDial for them. I jumped at the chance, and a couple of days later received the little package below in the post.
Below is my amateur attempt at improving the clamp.
And here is the shiny new SpedDial replacement
So now for the big question… is it any good? And the answer is an emphatic yes. Actually it is brilliant.
It solves several problems:
It stops the metal bracket from twisting and blocking the fold
Using the finger dimple makes turning the knob much less fiddly
It saves time. I have set mine to just four turns from closed to open.
It prevents the bolt from falling out
The same lock nut gives you a predictable fold, so the handlebars no-longer fall on my leg.