Tuesday 9 November 2021

Afro Leo

Six Steps for Value Creation in Heritage Brands

From a legal perspective we know that brands are protected by a number of different laws including copyright, trade mark, design and even personality rights where, for example, the brand is linked to people. We know too that under these laws the legal owner has several rights that are linked to monetary consideration, compensation, or penalties. These include rights to costs, damages, reasonable royalties, accounts of profit and fines. This creates an economic market for these rights that can be traded, licensed, pledged and leveraged.

A heritage brand is a type of brand that is linked to culture which could be linked to language, tradition, or physical objects such as buildings or artefacts. In legal terms a heritage is linked to a property right that may be inherited or passed from one generation to the next. A brand, of course, is more than a distinguishing feature of a product or service, it is experiential in that it evokes meaning and feeling in those that encounter it. Heritage brands are therefore potentially very powerful and valuable to those who control them, both legally and intrinsically.

Africa is abundant in heritage. Its multiplicity of languages, traditions and ancient foundations mean that heritage, as a resource, is omnipresent. By attaching or symbolizing that heritage to and in a brand there are obvious opportunities for value creation. This value can simply be the control of that heritage for future generations, or it could be leveraged to create revenue streams. The value creation is protected and created, in a legal sense, largely through intellectual property laws.

Business has long recognized Africa’s potential for value creation in its heritage. From blockbuster films to hospitality, fashion and motor vehicles using or reflecting African culture and heritage, our worldwide consumer culture is replete with examples of these types of products and services. In most of these examples, local communities derive little or no benefit apart from the flattery that exists in such use and in some cases, the lack of control over such use threatens the very existence and fabric of their heritage. However, the astute business has managed to form partnerships with local communities to enhance the value of the brand and ensure its sustainability. For stakeholders, there are therefore good reasons to understand the potential value of heritage brands and their use.

Here are six steps towards protecting and controlling the value of heritage in a brand:

Audit the heritage: analyze the heritage through the lens of intellectual property to determine which features are protectable.

Rank and bank the rights: this involves understanding the costs and benefit of the protection, the international agreements for reciprocal protection of such rights and how the features in the audit can be used to cost effectively harness and capture the rights.

Identify the business model you wish to use: licensing, endorsing, certification, accreditation and enforcement models are all potentially available to you.

Ensure value creation for the community: this step requires patience, education and building trust. It also requires the delivery of real value to the community that is transparent and accountable.

Structure the venture: the structure needs to be efficient, protective of the IP, attractive to stakeholders (the public and potential funders) and transparent to achieve legitimacy. It requires good skill sets in each aspect of the delivery.

Communicate effectively: Governing, reporting and leadership are all very important in ultimate value creation.

Afro Leo

Afro Leo

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