Joe Gregory on the Role of IP in Branding
Joe Gregory is the co-founder of Rethink Press, a partner publishing company that helps business authors to write and publish their books.
He has a background in advertising as a graphic designer and sales copywriter.
In this episode, we discuss the many ways intellectual property is relevant for entrepreneurs, designers and marketers. We also talk about how IP should be a fundamental aspect of any designer or marketer's training so they know what they don't know and can point their clients in the right direction to secure rights in their property assets.
In brief this episode covers:
- The definition of property rights
- What is spin selling methodology?
- The process of choosing a name for a book
- The problems with intellectual property as being inherently complex
- The problems of entrepreneurs when it comes to intellectual property
- Copyright as being universally relevant for every business especially for publishing
- How IP should be a fundamental aspect of any designer or marketer in training
- The most important thing that business owners need to focus on — the name
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Shireen Smith: Hello, everyone. I'm Shireen Smith of the brand tune podcast. And my guest today is Joe Gregory, who started life as a graphic designer. And in the earlier days of his career, he was involved in branding, digital marketing, advertising, and such like, now he's the co-founder of rethink press, the publishing company with whom I published my first two books. So welcome to the brand tune podcast to tell us a bit more about yourself.
Joe Gregory: Thanks for having me, Shireen. So my background, I started as an entrepreneur, at a young age, I was 19, I worked in advertising for a year first, I went straight in with a portfolio to get a job, work for your own advertising. We loved it. I really loved everything I was doing. I was working with existing brands, it wasn't a company that created brands from scratch. And I was just inspired by my boss, he was he said he started a business, his business at 19. And I thought I could probably do that. So I did. And it was really early days in 1997 when the World Wide Web was becoming a thing. We're doing that. So my first business was really web-based. And I was lucky enough to work with some large companies very early on in the business growth. So it grew quite quickly. And I was working with I mean, talking about brands, to two large financial services companies, commercial union, and general accident. What am I early clients? And so they were just merging, they were becoming CGU, if you remember that way back in the late 90s. And then they became obviously back to North union after becoming a Viva. So that was my kind of first taste of working with a big brand and actually seeing the assets and the collateral they need to keep sharp from that early, early stage. And actually managing it was kind of an eye-opener to me because I was kind of naive, rough, and ready and didn't really understand, you know how these big things happen. So that's it. And obviously, you've referenced, rethink press. I was working with small expert companies. So my ideal clients were small expert companies, and we do digital marketing for them. It wasn't called Digital Marketing, then that's what we were doing effectively. Yeah, everything online marketing strategy. And then I co-wrote a book, on what we were doing with recording lean marketing, and we never, we never trademarked that, in a way where you seem lean has become the thing it has, I wish we had. We wrote a book on that. And it became a useful tool in growing our business. I thought, actually, if I could get all of my clients to write books, I've got a completely different business here. So that's what we did in 2003. After six years, me and my co-director at the time, my sister, Deb's, changed direction completely from a marketing consultancy, to become a publishing business. And you met me I think, you know when we will rethink press. So that was kind of several years later. Yeah. So that's, that's the background. It's a bit of a kind of a lot of things I've done. But yeah, that's where I got to became weakling.
Shireen Smith: Sure. So basically, when I wrote my first book, or legally branded, one of the issues that were bothering me was that branding, people didn't seem to understand IP, and I'd go to create partnerships with them. And then I'd end up having to explain all about IP, and they were very interested but they didn't actually understand it. And actually now nearly 10 years on like, it's no better. And I've actually realized this because they're not trained, you know, graphic designers, marketers. Don't actually receive training in IP. And they're expected to just pick up this knowledge that they need. You know, what's your experience with?
Joe Gregory: I think you're right, I think beyond copyright. So graphic designers and brand designers know to keep hold a copyright, or at least they have to grant it to their client, whatever the agreement is, they tend to know about that much. And then beyond that, it's not even really considered, I think, this is my generalization on people that are drawn to that kind of industry. We are much more interested in the big idea and the creative than we are with the static, the kind of what I call red pen stuff, that's essential that can kind of spoil the fun when you've got a great idea. And then you're like, ah, we can't use it. So I think it's partly a willful ignorance to do the stuff that's actually really vitally important, especially when you're building a business. And you're building those assets of a business that can be sold or scaled or partnered with other people. That's, that's obviously the one side and then there's the other side where you may actually be infringing somebody else's trading name and come unstuck later on, after you built considerable momentum around the wrong thing. Yeah, I do. But I do think it needs partially because people that are attracted to the creative side, don't really want to deal with the legislative, the admin side of things. And I think what you're doing your the work you're doing to actually shine a light on that side of it is critical. And I think it should, if it’s already a fundamental aspect of any, any graphic designers training, if they're, they're going towards branding.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, I think part of the problem is that entrepreneurs, business owners, just don't really understand IP. And they assume if they go to someone for branding, that that person knows everything they need to know, including the law, really, they're not interested in the law, either, because they don't understand why it's significant. So it creates this situation where you can get brands that are created that are absolutely worthless. You know, I don't know whether maybe what should be happening is that designers should understand what the client is hoping to achieve. If they've got big aspirations for their business. Perhaps they should bring in a lawyer or law firm to help.
Joe Gregory: I think, this is my view. I'm an optimist. Even if businesses haven't got big aspirations, sometimes they take off, it happens with books, sometimes the book takes off beyond anybody's expectation. And that's when you get the trouble. Really, it's not it's not the other way around. I'm not I'm not suggesting you shouldn't do it anyway, you get kind of caught out. But it's only when you're you're starting to see real success and traction, that you're going to start getting the calls and the and the hassle, you know, that could absolutely derail a project if you if you build momentum around a name and an image. Yeah. So yeah, I think you're right, we should almost be like a checklist is like, you know, yeah, it's most important bit is to make sure it's protected. And we're not infringing anybody else's.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, it's a difficult one. I mean, I've actually wondered whether IP has an image problem, or is it lawyer, somebody I was talking to said that lawyers actually seem to be quite dry. They're the ones who are going to spoil the fun? Because they'll say, No, you can't do this. But you know, that the marketers or designers want to do so.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, there's a balance. I mean, especially for entrepreneurs, I think the assumption should be this could become big, it could become, you know, a much bigger brand than you've actually anticipated, especially if other partners want to get involved or kind of partner with you and grow it. And yeah, I think it's possibly naivety and lack of ambition, but lack of vision to say, actually, you know, I might be better than I think this, this idea may be better than I think it is. Yeah. And so I would say on the other side, especially on entrepreneurs that are starting, like bootstrapping from the ground up with no investment, when it comes to where they're going to potentially spend their money, they'll do the things that are going to get a direct return at that moment, and then kind of lose sight of the fact that this is a really vital part of the brand. Yeah, the process has gone on. So but I think I think what you're doing is, is fantastic and important.
Shireen Smith: You know, I'm wondering whether to try and tackle it by going to the organizations that actually train people like marketers and designers. I think part of the problem is that there is this perception that people understand what IP is. Yeah. Which gets in the way of them actually really knowing why it matters. You know, so they've got preconceptions about IP is important if you've got a really successful business.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, I mean, that was my view of it. You know, I think the first time I spoke to a lawyer when my first business was when we were planning to trademark something, it wasn't, it didn't even occur to me that I, you know, I may be trading with a name that could have problems. And I suppose interestingly, my first business, Jessica, we chose a name was called Cavell Group. And I was based in Birmingham, and there was a big company called Birmingham cable. And you would think there's no link at all with that the spelling is completely different. But surprisingly, we had so many phone calls. If you were Birmingham, cable TV, like, you know, cable television, and lots of so many phone calls, he was able to tell he's not working. How did you get us? You know, and this was this the old days of yellow pages. But yeah, so I think just thinking about your branding, and I think if you can actually say the name, because a lot of people couldn't say the name of our business, when we were trading, you know, openly as that business.
Shireen Smith: I guess, in those days, the internet wasn't so much so widespread, because I think now it's very easy for people to be found out if they're using a name that is objectionable.
Joe Gregory: There's nowhere to hide it every I mean, it is everything is much more transparent with the internet. And it doesn't take long, you know, as soon as you kind of Raise your head and start proactively marketing for people to see it. So yeah, I think I think you're right, I think the idea of educating, getting that into the kind of the idea that, you know, designers, entrepreneurs, are thinking in terms of what IP is, and actually how fundamental it is, it's as fundamental as the other regulatory stuff you do in your business that you wouldn't, you know, I'd like to think I've always used an accountant, but you know, the financial stuff is important. This is just as important.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, it's effectively property, IP. So when you trademark something, you have an asset, which is property is called property rights, similar to land that you might own. And that's actually where all the value of your business is contained. So briefing press is, funnily enough, it will be that name.
Joe Gregory: That's all we've got really, you know, we don't have you know, we don't have offices, I don't mind saying that we work from home offices, it's a network. It's only what we deliver, and what we're called that has got inherent value, really. And obviously, because we're a publisher, we've got lots of IP in terms of a license, to publish those things. So I find it Yeah, I, I think, just use my own reference point reference. naivety is for the kind of not wanting to look at the grown-up stuff is another part of it. I'm not, I'm not disparaging other creators, I'm also running around in a kind of childish, everything will be fine way. But I think a lot of the time is like that stuff just seems a bit more serious. And I want to just do the fun stuff. And then I'd say on top of that, it's just allocating resources and not seeing the significance of actually, just as you would with a house, I have just moved pace, you make sure you own that, and you get the advice to ensure you own that. You're not you know, that that bit of God and that you might think is yours is actually yours, not somebody else's. Or we often miss the point, when it comes to the intellectual assets we created with the branding, assets we're creating. Yeah.
Shireen Smith: I think it's still may be regarded as something quite esoteric, there's, you know, it doesn't really have an impact until somebody actually is in a situation where, you know, it does have an impact. I mean, if a business goes into administration, often the only thing available to sell, that's got value is the brands like HMV, when it went into administration, the brand had quite a lot of value. Yeah.
Joe Gregory: You know, and it's the same all the time whenever a business is split up if people don't want to buy the shops and all the other aspects is the brand that might Yeah, will that goodwill. And if you've attracted, if you attached goodwill, even on a smaller scale, to a name that you then find out you can't use devastating blow for business.
Shireen Smith: It is yeah. So what does IP bring up for you when you hear into that it's, say a book on intellectual property what.
Joe Gregory: I think actually you just pointing out the word property. I think it gets thrown around just showing to IP all the time. I like I really like the intellectual, but I like the idea. But actually just seeing it as property simplifies the whole, the whole way of looking at it. It's like, what are you creating? What do you actually own? Are you trying to own something you can't own because somebody else already owns it? Yeah, I think thinking in that sense of it as property is really important. And on the other side, an asset that can generate income. I mean, that's why I'm in publishing. That's why I love publishing as a business model. Because I get access to capitalize on lots and lots of little pieces of intellectual property. Yeah, other people have created, and it's a really, really useful business model. That's why publishers like it, as well, yeah. To operate. And so things that I've learned as, as our business has grown, is we, we engage in a lot more foreign language rights and subsidiary rights deals now. And actually, before another publisher will touch that they want to know that you've got rights to the illustrations in that the design of the thing, you know, there are so many more things that count as property than just the name. And I know, we're, we're specifically talking about branding, but even our look and feel is part of our brand, you know, the way we design books.
Shireen Smith: You know, copyright is actually universally relevant for every business, but especially obviously, yours is king in publishing. You know, one of the issues with branding, is that if if you create something like a logo, you know, you might be able to use the logo, but you don't actually own the copyright in it unless the creator assigns it to you. And most people are not aware of that. mean, do people ask for an assignment of the book cover designs at all?
Joe Gregory: No. So I mean, this is following your really good advice Shireen. We make sure anybody that works as part of our team because it's an extended team of freelancers that the assignment of copyright, is to ask in any design that happens. Yeah. And any work that's done so that we can then ensure our authors have really got, you know, when we say they own the copyright, and what's being created, at the end of the process, after we know, you know, run out our license, until they say, oh, deep back. Yeah, they have got full use of all of those things for the purpose of continuing to publish. I hadn't even considered it. And I don't mind admitting that way, way back when this is, this is kind of pre rethink, but we got your advice, really, the early days of we think it had just become, yeah, was as the early days, I think you looked at our contract. And said, you raise the point, what would you do with in terms of your team, like, Oh, I hadn't thought about that yet. So I would say, talk to somebody like you or you immediately when you're trying to do anything that looks like there is copyright involved, or especially, you know, just knowing you've got the right to use those brand assets that you've been created, if you're creative is created a logo for you. Again, it comes down to when it's massively successful if your designer created the next Coca-Cola, and they find out 20 years later, but actually, I never assigned the copyright to you. They may be expecting a nice paycheck when you try and do with that. So yeah, that's part of it. So in our case, and in order to sell to ensure we can smooth subsidiary rights, just making sure we've got a list of all the things that comprise that book, so we can say, yeah, here it is. It's a clean list, we've got clearance, that has become a much more important and significant part of our work.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, I suppose you're helping people to create their brand in many ways because the book is very much part of their messaging.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, and naming things. I mean, I think that's one of my, within the business, one of the things I think I'm lucky enough to have got a bit of a knack for, and it often comes out of our authors, I don't claim any special power to give names things, it's usually the words that kind of combined into our authors do. And weirdly, for a brand like for a book, it can be quite descriptive. And as you're always saying, when you try and do that for a brand and trademark if you get into all kinds of problems. I mean, in a way, it's good news, so book titles, but it's not so good. When when you know if we come up with a particularly great book title, there can be obstacles interactively.
Shireen Smith: Yes, just search them yourself. And then what process Do you go through when you choose a name if it sounds like it?
Joe Gregory: I mean, there should be a better process. We probably should do it every time. If the title sounds like something that's not quite descriptive. It could be a brand. I will go I will go and look through IPO, isn't it? Okay, yeah, I'll look there, at least as a basic check. We'll always check Amazon to see if there's anything else out there. And that's kind of as far as we go. But if it sounds bigger, I always say, to talk to a lawyer, you need to, you know, if you're going to, especially if you're planning to build, you know, brand assets, a website of this may be a program and other things beyond that, we talk to a professional to make sure you've got those things covered.
Shireen Smith: I mean, I've actually trademarked brand tuned, as in the US, EU, and UK. Yeah. Because it's, I know, what could go wrong, you know, and how much more expense and hassle is involved than just you from the start guarding it as a cost of business to?
Joe Gregory: And I think exactly why just seeing it as a normal cost of business as you would an accountant, as you would say any other part of it. I think that needs to come really early on any new business venture you creating.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, it's a shame. So when you trained as a graphic designer, were there any lectures at all on IP?
Joe Gregory: Well, I mean, I say I came in a bit of an odd angle. So I just did college only did college and had a portfolio and got a job. So I didn't do any formal training. So I honestly can't tell you from a degree point of view. My feeling is absolutely not, because that's not a wasn't in the curriculum in terms of what skill they were training for. And I think I think the assumption is, oh, well, you just get lawyers to do that bit. And you work with lawyers. But of course, if you don't even have if you don't know what you don't know, yeah, that's when you don't think to ask a lot. Because you don't know there's any, any fair is an issue. Yeah. So I think that's the missing piece, it's not necessarily that the brand creators should get really good at doing that work, they just need to know, that part of their duty of care to their client, he's talked to a lawyer that understands this stuff, before we take it any further.
Shireen Smith: That's right like you to be able to do some preliminary checks themselves. And then to know when to say to someone, you know, go to a lawyer.
Joe Gregory: That's especially you know, the clue. And we, we have fallen foul of it every so often when we thought they had a registered trademark, but he wasn't quite registered enough. I won't go into detail on that. But there are levels and levels of protection, you don't know about as an outsider if that's not your skill. So you can fall foul with that. But yeah, as soon as an author says, I think I'm going to trademark this title. I'll be like, talk to a lawyer. Because, yeah, may not, you know, having a title that works for the context of a book that's descriptive of what's in the book is very different than saying a magnet for older an asset with this. But even then you can still get into trouble. Like, you know, if you put the Coca-Cola Handbook, it might be a descriptive book on how to drink cocoa, you're still gonna get into trouble. You can't just, you know, pinch brand names and trade off them. Yeah, yeah. It's, it just feels so great. In an ideal world, it would be lawyer on every single thing. We did you know, is this design? Okay. Yeah. And I think there's, there's obviously got to be a bit of a balance of kind of, like, you know, feel your way in and then do it. But I would say, yeah, this is a standard starting point in business by IP should be taken as seriously as your, your kind of financial regulatory stuff.
Shireen Smith: I think. So the problem is the cost of it, you know, going and getting one-to-one advice. Yeah. But my lawyer can be expensive. So that's, that's one of the issues. I'm thinking about, you know, how can I introduce something where people have access to the basic information, and then without much cost, that sort of ability to ask questions, maybe in a forum situation, where you don't have to pay for one to one advice? I think many lawyers could do more to create something accessible?
Joe Gregory: Yeah, I think and I think it's a little bit like you don't know how much it's gonna cost you, you know, and the reality is you, you can't say it's just going to be biased because you don't know what's necessarily going to come along when you try and do like, an example is when you helped us register rethink press, there were things down the line that we wouldn't have known about, had we not gone through the exercise. And, and it was absolutely, you know, so I felt so good that we've done the process because if we hadn't been carried on trading without actually registering, we could have had real trouble later on as the business has carried on succeeding and growing. Yeah, it would have got more attention. So I think Yeah. I think your point about making it kind of feel more accessible, I suppose, a checklist or even even a series of kind of information, infographics that say, you know, thinking of doing this, you need to talk to a lawyer thinking to do this, you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Shireen Smith: Talking to a lawyer could be expensive so I'm thinking of saying, Okay, are you thinking of using a logo? This is the basic information to know about you can trade market can't trade market, whatever.
Joe Gregory: And I'm sure I mean, your book will go a long way towards that. But yeah, I think I think just simplifying that. And I think that's thinking about creatives and entrepreneurs where they are, I think, the simpler, the better. We like a three, you know, do's and don'ts. You know, some simple things are a checklist of Have you checked these three things before you go any further?
Shireen Smith: Yeah, I think people like to be independent. So they had to work with a lawyer just doesn't work, because they could be very costly and be, it doesn't give you the independence to create brands.
Joe Gregory: I wonder as a further thing, I'm sure you've thought about this. But if you had brand tuned accredited designers that know their way around it enough to know, when you need further help, and at least we'll avoid the pitfalls. I mean, just having that that would become a selling point for them, as well as I've got this accreditation, which sets me apart from there's another design, I think that could be a useful thing, I kind of in a lot of ways glad I'm not a graphic designer anymore. because there'd be so many things that I need to get right. And as a graphic designer, one of the things is naming that client brief, when you've gone through that creative process. And you know the brief, I suppose some graphic designers may be kind of wary of. Now Now we'll make sure that we can actually use it because I think I've run out of running creative juice on this particular project. And if I get a note of this, it's back to the drawing board. But I would say for most creatives that this is my view, and we get pushback. So we know, we work with clients with, you know, on book titles, if we get a book title, that's particularly amazing. Oh, no, somebody else has got that title, we find a book appears on Amazon within the same timeframe. Often you get a better title, as a result of having to go back to the drawing board and just go that one step further as you get better. So I think just being open to that happening is important. But you know, whether you're open to it or not, the reality will still bite. If you don't protect, yes, that asset you create.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, I think one of the problems is the IP is inherently complex. I mean, it's annoying as a lawyer as well not to be able to give nice cut and dried advice all the time. And however much you want to, there are some situations which are really not possible to give people comfort that they need. So like, for example, if you choose a name that lots of other people have got a similar element in their name, so not really generic, but it's in widespread use, say fusion or something is the name, you're going to get lots of other brands that are using that name. And it's very difficult to give somebody that go ahead and say you're definitely not have problems because there are so many people using fusion that no one of them, none of them can claim exclusive rights.
Joe Gregory: What I say causes confusion doesn't mean before and that's what happens. If you can't really ever kind of get that traction that you might want to get as an entrepreneur.
Shireen Smith: Exactly. Yes. So people don't like distinctive names that stand out and don't mean anything. But actually, they are the simplest check the easiest way to stand out.
Joe Gregory: And I think as anybody you know, any good brand person will save the image in the name. It what comes next is really branding. It's what you hook to that those assets that really matter for the business. So, you know, often trying to get that killer perfect name isn't as important as actually building a business and reputation that you can attach to that name. That's right. You know, Rican press is meaningless, really, it's not. It's just a name. Once you've got a name, it's and it's what we do you know, that actually, reputational stuff will go to and now people are seeking us out. If we had to change the name. It'd be like back to square one. We're kind of having to get on everybody. You know, here we are. We changed our name.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, you've got a certain reputation. So I see. The problem, though, is that there is never any knowing whether somebody is going to take objection to someone's name, even if they haven't got solid white. Yeah, it's very possible for people to be quite territorial and object to something.
Joe Gregory: And I think that's just it's kind of the nature of the metaphor of business is competitive. Yeah, it is competitive and it's kind of like I want to hold up. I want the whole board I want I want a monopoly on this. And it's a shame that it's not more collaborative. But the reality is it isn't. So Well, well, I feel kind of that's a shame that we can all work together. And a great example again of how you negotiated our brand use. there's a charity that uses the word we think, yes, that did object kind of calmly and, you know, rationally, but we still have to resolve that with them. It wasn't as simple as saying, you know, they weren't saying we own all rights to any use of rethinking any kind of name, but at the same time, they wanted to make sure there, their color that was protected. And yeah, I mean, that was fascinating to me to know that and they kind of it showed the kind of caliber of their organization really, that they were open to negotiating rather than kind of.
Shireen Smith: Well, often it happens like that, that people settle, you know, they have some reservations, they want those reservations to be taken on board and loan, everyone's happy. But that is really for a startup or a small business, they regard that as a disaster. And they would think that they should have been forewarned that this could happen, because they haven't really got the funds to deal with, with not. And so I think you almost need a different strategy if you don't want to come up against trademarks.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, yeah, I think I think it starts from day one, like, it's fine to trade a little bit. But as soon as you start actually thinking like I'm trading, I'm attracting reputation to an image and a look and feel, that's where I think it is just a vital thing to at least consider least ensure you're not infringing anything else, because that would be I suppose I'm going all the way back in time now, maybe in 2001 2001 of my clients ran us a sales program called spiral selling. And if you know anything about this, there's a methodology was developed with IBM, there's a methodology called SPIN Selling, world-famous, they wrote him a really, really like, you know, you can't even like spiral spin, you can see, you can see the parallel and that he could have probably argued back because it was small, it was a small trainer, it was just enough that cease and desist was enough for him to go, Oh, my, I'm not touching that ever again. I'll re rethink my whole model. As a result of that, I remember that was my kind of my first, you know, observation of reality in action when, when it can be quiet, you know, a very assertively kind of.
Shireen Smith: There are Yeah, I must say, Fine choosing a name. And there is any risk that somebody is going to object I, I decide not to go ahead with that. Because basically, it's not worth spending time and money in disputes if you don't need to. Yeah, yeah. So that's why I think choose well at the beginning, and you avoid all sorts of problems.
Joe Gregory: Yeah. Oh, fab. Yeah, no, I agree. Yeah, I mean, it's great. I feel like I've, I've been lucky enough to know you for quite a while now. And we've, we've used your services many times, to help us ensure we're not we're not getting in trouble. I still I suppose this is the same for every entrepreneur, you still think every little thing you do? Really, you know, in an ideal world, we should talk to you on about everything. And sometimes we just go, let's feel our way a little bit first. I mean, if you've got a view on, on that, is that like, Is that like a bad strategy? Or is that kind of just an entrepreneurial thing, you kind of get in a bit of trouble before you might necessarily talk to somebody that can ensure you're not going to get any, anymore?
Shireen Smith: Well, you've probably developed quite a good sense of what you can and can't get away with. So it depends who you are. I suspect you're okay. But somebody with very little experience may not make the right call.
Joe Gregory: Yeah. Yeah.
I mean, you see, I suppose you see, on a smaller scale, it's not really branding, but I suppose it is. You see so many infringements of font usage and, you know, other parts of the puzzle, you just see, you know, you really, you really squeaky clean there, because you're probably not all or when people share means or, or video or music and their content when they're just doing social strategy. I think there are so many ways to get yourself in trouble. There's so many more ways.
Shireen Smith: Yeah. I mean, I take risks, like for example, using somebody's logo, if you want to say Coca-Cola looks like this. Theoretically, you're infringing copyright if unless there's newsworthy items that you're reporting on. Yeah, but I take that risk because I suspect that Coca-Cola is and come after me.
Joe Gregory: I do reasonable and rational risk as well, isn't it that, you know, technically it might be wrong, but like you're saying something about Coca Cola. They want the brand to be proliferated. So it's probably you know, unless you're saying something bad about Coca Cola.
Shireen Smith: it's not doing any harm, and if anything, it gets their name out there more.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, I mean, I'm one thing we really got. We've got Back down on in our businesses. These decorative quotes at the beginning of chapters, like we, we get right of clear clearance, we checked in with the PLR. I can't remember the acronym that you need rights clearance on all of those quotes if they're used in a decorative way. And I'll say like, I'm not I don't look right back into my history before rethink press, but there were several books that haven't been speaking. And my view would be that, you know, rational, realistic view is we're just quoting other people that are going to get benefit from seeing that, but technically, you're still supposed to clear it. And I always do, like you have to get away from poetry and song lyrics. Yeah. But even quoting something somebody may have said in a TED talk, and shining a spotlight on them could potentially get you in the wrong.
Shireen Smith: Wow, yeah, I must say, I'd hate to be in the publishing industry, when I saw that sort of rights clearance I’d need to do, I just thought this is ridiculous.
Joe Gregory: And really, you know, this is about the kind of like, I suppose the scale of the businesses we've grown up, we've got, we've got a publishing manager that looks after all of these things. And she's really, really hot on you know, doing the right thing and not, not falling foul of the rules. If it was me still running that side of it, I probably wouldn't have even paid attention to the same way nor say, you know, really be really clear on this, you can get into problems.
Shireen Smith: I take a pragmatic view on a lot of those things, you know, as you say if it's a small quote, and I'm giving credit to the book, I can't see that there's a need to go and get clearance. But, you know, I know publishers have to, but I personally wouldn't do it. If I was self-published.
Joe Gregory: Yeah. And that was my view prior to seeing this. And then and then, you know, handing over to somebody that it's their job, you know, they've got to feel they can do the right thing in our business. Yeah. For me to say no, you know, technically, you know, we'll be okay. isn't really it doesn't really cut it, because they want to do the right thing. So, yeah, yeah, I'm learning more and more. And I think that's the thing like, I would like to say, I probably do have a good feel for where you can kind of, yeah, say or close to the when and where you can't, but it still doesn't hurt to, to talk to you, or somebody like you to say, you know, what's going on here? And they've been other times, I can't remember, but we've called on your you for advice. And sometimes it's very simple. Yeah, you know, just do that. Oh, yeah, that that'll be okay. I can't see an issue with that. And other times, it's like, yeah, this is what would have to happen in order for that to happen to you. Like, I just dropped that idea. Yeah, that's a good idea, after all, and sometimes knowing what not to do in business is really useful.
Shireen Smith: Yeah. Yeah, I think really on the name is probably the most important thing that business owners need to focus on getting right because everything is captured in that name. And then other things, maybe.
Joe Gregory: I wonder because a lot of people just think as long as they can get the.com, they've got the name. And I think that's smart people's brain goes in terms of thinking they've protected it.
Shireen Smith: Now you see if it's too similar to somebody else's name that could cause a problem. You know .com is not the be and end at all.
Joe Gregory: I imagine. I'm sure you got like you got access to the case type of cases where this happens. Some people have probably lost domain names because they have no rights in the first place.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, I give an example in the book where somebody lost their whole business because he had chosen a similar name to a competitor of things, without realizing this would be a problem and got the.com but after spending a lot of money promoting the domain, he had been confiscated and had to start from scratch, you know?
Joe Gregory: Yeah, that's, that's terrible. Yeah, terrible, but just another war. Though this can happen, it can happen, especially when you're successful. No, you don't lose anything. Really. If you've got nothing to lose, do you only lose when you gained that kind of growth?
Shireen Smith: So thank you very much, Joe, for appearing on the podcast. I just really want to finish off by asking you as you know so much about books and good books. If you could name a few books that are really good for somebody setting up a business or brand to read.
Joe Gregory: Well, I would read all of your books obviously. You can pay me later but no, you're legally brand branded sets that that really clearly and it made me think much more seriously about the whole process so there's that I would I don't I don't necessarily think you need to book on that part of it. Like as professional branding. You need to know that. It's an important part of your job. And if you want to be world-class, in terms of helping organizations to name and undergrowth they need to really consider that legal side. So I'd say read all of your books. I don't think there are I mean, I honestly, I don't think there are any other books that actually do what you do. Do not only have I don't mean I'm assuming don't.
Shireen Smith: But how about to be inspired in business?
Joe Gregory: Our Right, yeah. So one of my favorite books, he's actually, it's an old book, and its kind of out of print is by a chap called Guy Kawasaki, how to drive your competition crazy. It's one of my favorite books are lots of models in there for how to how to do things that will make competitors, especially bigger competitors, if you're an app store, or you're a challenger brand, how to do things that are going to just really upset them because they won't be able to respond. So I love that book. And I realized me I used to always hang on to three or four copies. And I would give that book to anybody. Really? Yeah. And why is it out of print? I just think it's probably it probably past its prime in terms of the references because he was the chief, the chief advocate, or I forget, there was a brief chief evangelist for Apple. That was one of these kinds of claims to fame. And so the references that he uses are kind of old now. But it's fundamentally a solid book. So not a lot of people have heard of it. And maybe that's why it's out of print. Maybe it didn't sell as well as it should have.
Shireen Smith: Yeah, great. Okay. Well, thank you very much, Joe. Thanks, Shireen. It's lovely. How can people get in touch with you if they want to publish their own books.
Joe Gregory: rethinkpress.com is the best place to go. You can find me on LinkedIn, and Facebook. But on Facebook, I'm just /getpublished/. I felt quite pleased to get that in the early, early days. But yeah, you'll find a CV if you search for reading press will find us all over the place. And I'd say one thing, just if I can get this plugin, at the moment, what we're really working on and it's going really well we run a program called book builder, book dash builder.com, where we help people who are right in the early stages of coming out with a book idea and thinking of the title and actually planning to write the book that takes you through that in 90 days. And it's run by my co-director, Lucy, and we're having massive success with that for budding authors. So yeah.
Shireen Smith: So is it suitable for somebody who just has an idea that they will.
Joe Gregory: Yeah, and I'd like to say they really need to have a business. First, we need work. That's where we fit perfectly. They've got a business already. They know they need to write a book, and they don't necessarily know how to put that together, gather and position it in the right way. And yeah, we're loving it. It's a great program. We're on our fourth intake. It's a 90-day process, and we're getting amazing results and getting lots of people through.
Shireen Smith: Okay, I’ll add to the show notes. We'll add a link.
Joe Gregory: Thank you so much.
Shireen Smith: Good. Oh, thank you very much indeed Joe.
Joe Gregory: Thank you Shireen.
Shireen Smith: Bye.
Joe Gregory: Bye.