Information Professionals in the Wall Street Jounal

Wall Street Journal Advert for Information ProfessionalsOne of the surprises during the annual SLA conference in Seattle was to see a full page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal promoting the value of information professionals four days in a row.

This unprecedented marketing event was an unexpected opportunity resulting from the recent take overs of both the Wall Street Journal and the Dowjones company (which includes the Factiva brand) by Rupert Murdoch.

It would be great to see something similar in the UK.

Here is the full text of the advert.

The right people, information and decisions

Behind every good business decision is an information professional.

The competitive advantages you bring to the table are superior management strategies and decision-making capabilities. Both originate from information that’s been gathered, organized and shared throughout your enterprise by people called information professionals.

The relevant, high-quality business information you need to take action doesn’t turn up all by itself. Whether internally or externally produced, it’s the lifeblood of people who work for you: librarians, knowledge managers, chief information officers, Web developers, information brokers and researchers.

The Special Libraries Association, with support from Dow Jones Factiva, is behind your most profitable decisions. To learn how an SLA information professional can benefit your organization, visit today.

Stacey Bowers and Cara Schatz of the SLA staff

Congratulations to Stacey Bowers and Cara Schatz of the SLA staff for their work with the Wall Street Journal to develop this memorable advert.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Located in the unlikely setting of Notting Hill, London the the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is a little gem. It is based on the collection of consumer historian, Robert Opie, who saw the need to record the history of products around us.

“Starting at the age of sixteen with a packet of Munchies, the Collection now extends to all aspects of daily life – toys, comics, magazines, newspapers, technology, travel, royal souvenirs, fashion and design. Robert says, ‘Whilst families tend to save mementos from special occasions, it struck me that little was being done to keep the everyday material. When the thousands of pieces of this social history are assembled into some giant jigsaw, the picture becomes clearer as to the remarkable journey we have all come through’. ”

The collection contains over 12,000 toys and games, posters and magazines, fads and fashions, postcards and packaging. There is a strong nostalgic aspect of the museum as you discover sweets and games from your youth. The history of consumer culture is revealed decade by decade from Victorian times to the present day.

Two things struck me during the visit. One, was the increase in size of packages over time. Presumably a combination of wealthier consumers and less frequent shopping. The other was the simplification of branding over time. They have a great series of displays showing the development of household names such as Swan Vesta matches and Branston Pickle over time. With each ‘brand refresh’ the colours and logo’s are made clearer and simpler.

Jacobs Club

The only disappointment for me was not being able to find an example of a Jacobs Club biscuit the dominant brand of the 1980’s with one of the most memorable advertising slogans, ‘If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club’.

Jif Lemon

There was a good example of ‘passing off’, known as the Jif Lemon case, where Reckitt & Colman Ltd took Borden Inc to the House of Lords and won.

From an article by Kenneth Choy discussing the tort of passing off:

“In the summer of 1985, Borden began selling its ReaLemon product in its lemon-shaped container in the UK. Reckitt & Colman became concerned and filed a lawsuit to stop the American company. Reckitt & Colman was successful in the lower courts and Borden took the case to the House of Lords.

Explaining the standard, which became known as the classic trinity, Lord Oliver asked:

1. Have the respondents [Reckitt & Colman] proved that the get-up under which their lemon juice has been sold since 1956 has become associated in the minds of substantial numbers of the purchasing public specifically and exclusively with [their] (“Jif”) lemon juice?
2. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, does the get-up under which the appellants [Borden] proposed to market their lemon juice in [the ReaLemon containers] amount to a representation by [Borden] that the juice which they sell is “Jif” lemon juice?
3. If the answer to that question is in the affirmative, is it, on a balance of probabilities, likely that, if the appellants [Borden] are not restrained as they have been, a substantial number of members of the public will be misled into purchasing the defendants’ lemon juice in the belief that it is the respondents’ Jif juice? (pp.500-501)

Lord Oliver observed that supermarkets tend to sell only one brand and possibly their own house brand of preserved lemon juice. He noted Reckitt & Colman’s survey evidence showing that “a housewife presented with a display of these products in close juxtaposition would be likely to pick up . . . the [ReaLemon] product in the belief that what she was buying was the respondents’ Jif lemon juice” (p. 500) since Jif was the only “lemon-sized squeezy pack of lemon juice on the market” (p. 501).

Concluding that the three elements are satisfied, the Lords affirmed the permanent injunction barring Borden from marketing lemon juice in lemon-shaped containers in the UK.

Had the Jif lemon been a registered trademark, the case would have been much simpler to prove. Infringement is established if it can show that Borden’s ReaLemon container is identical or similar to the Jif lemon and that allowing the ReaLemon container in the market is likely to cause public confusion. Section 18, Trade Mark Ordinance (Cap. 559).

One may ask, if the Jif lemon had been sold since 1956, why wasn’t it registered as a trademark?

The answer is that, had they applied to register the Jif lemon as a trademark, the application would have been rejected by the registrar. This is because a mark that is a symbol of the goods or services it promotes does not qualify for registration. So, the Jif lemon is a symbol of lemon and lemon juice so it cannot be registered. If it is registered, it would prevent others from using a symbol of a lemon to sell lemon or lemon juice. Thus, Reckitt & Colman could only resort to a passing off claim in their fight against competition from ReaLemon. “

Top Business Research Tips

Karen BlakemanThe wonderful business information expert Karen Blakeman of RBA Information Services publishes a list of top business research tips on her blog at the end of each of her Business Information workhops.

This is the list generated by the researchers attending her workshop in April. As you may have spotted the 10 has grown to 15 in this instance.

1. FITA Import Export Business and International Trade Leeds. The “Really Useful Links” in the menu on the left hand side of the screen takes you to a range of international sources on business information. One participant of this workshop found the “Doing business”, and in particular in the Middle East, especially useful.

2. Nationmaster An interface to a plethora of statistics on web sites world wide. Some of the statistics are 2-3 years old but there are links to the original site so that you can search for more up to date information. Several participants suggested that this site is a good ‘index’ of where data is likely to be found.

3. Blogpulse One of several blog search engines, but this was singled out for its Trends graphs. These show how often your search terms are mentioned in posts over a selected period of time. In a business context the occurrences will usually match reports in the mainstream media. When they don’t, click on the peaks in the graph to see what is going on behind the scenes. Superb for picking up on rumours and gossip.

4. Yahoo Finance. Go to any Yahoo and click on the Finance link. For the UK version go to Yahoo Finance provides basic information on stock exchange quoted companies on the major stock exchanges around the world. Information includes current share price information (delayed by 15-30 minutes) provided by the stock exchanges; company profiles; charts in which you can compare the company share price with another company, the sector and an index such as the FTSE 100; current news on the company and focussing on the regulatory news; and daily historical share prices as figures that can be downloaded to spreadsheets.

5. Freepint Bar Head for the discussion area, labelled as the Bar, where you can post your query and tap into the knowledge of regular ‘tipplers’

6. Silobreaker. A new site pulling news from the usual newspapers and journals, but also blogs, video and audio. In addition It offers geographical hotspots, trends and a network visualisation tool, which was singled out by one participant.

7. Contact a relevant research, trade or professional body for help in locating experts. sources of information and reports. They may not have anything on their web site but there may something ‘on file’ that they are willing to supply free of charge or for which they are prepared to negotiate a fee.

8. Intelways. An interface to many search tools grouped by type e.g. news, video, image. Type your search terms in once and click on the different search tools one by one. A reminder of the different types of information that you should be looking at and of the wide range of search engines that are out there.

9. Click on the Advanced Search option for any of the tools that you encounter, be it Google et al or a web site’s own search option. They offer great ways of focussing your search by date, file format, site, author etc.

10. RBA Business Sources. Selected sources of business information organised by type e.g. statistics, share prices, company registers. Yes, it is my own site [blush] but they did insist!

11. Phil Bradley’s web site and blog. and Excellent sources of information on Web 2.0 ’stuff’ and search tools. In particular, his blog has no-nonsense reviews of new search tools that claim they will change the world of search.

12. Intute. Forget about the label. This is an excellent starting point for anyone working in business and wanting to identify quality resources on a wide range of subjects and industries.

13. Hometrack. This site provides key statistics and data on the UK housing market and financing of that market. Especially relevant in the current economic climate.

14. Alacrasearch. A Google custom search engine that focuses on business sites selected by Alacra. [A personal note: this is in my top 5 favourite search tools].

15. CIA World Factbook – country profiles. Key statistics on every country. For those of you of a more adventurous disposition when it comes to travel, it even includes the number of airports with unpaved runways.

Free business news search engine from Northern Light

Northern Light logoI remember Northern Light as one of the key early players in web search. It actually started in 1996, the same year that Google began as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at Stanford University

However, for the last few years their services have been reserved for enterprise customers only. The good news it that they recently launched a free business news search engine called Northern Light Search.

It offers you the ability to register for free and set-up daily or weekly alerts on a range of saved searches you create.

However I believe its market research content makes for real killer content, as this is so difficult to find via standard search engines like Google.

Their Market Intelligence Wikis provide an overview of industries and business trends, with a detailed picture of market segments, issues, companies, and government regulatory actions.

“Our editors have been scouring the Web for authoritative analysis and commentary and for useful resources to create these concise, easy-to-navigate market intelligence wikis for the several industries listed below. If your industry is not already covered contact us or contribute to this public wiki!”

Topics Covered:
Accounting & Taxation
Aerospace & Defense
Automotive & Transportation
Banking & Financial Services
Chemicals & Plastics
Energy & Utilities
Health Care
Oil & Gas
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
Private Equity & Venture Capital
Software, Computers, & Services
Telecommunications & Equipment

Northern Light screen shot

Many thanks for this tip to Warren Cheetham,  CitiLibraries|The New Townsville City