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Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

Copyright ownership and your rights

We regularly come across businesses that have found themselves locked into a particular graphic designer, marketing consultant or website developer because they have not taken care to ensure that they control and have copies of their intellectual property.
While strictly speaking in copyright law, the originator of a piece of work owns the copyright, whether it is the graphic designer who devised your logo and artwork, the copywriter who provided words, the photographer who did the pictures for your marketing collateral or the developer who created your website.
However, when commissioning such work it is essential to agree with the supplier concerned that what they are creating on your behalf should remain under your control and you can use it at your own discretion.
In essence this means that the originator grants you exclusive rights of use “in perpetuity”, ie forever.
You may be willing to allow them to use the material as an example of their work in order for them to promote their own business, but you should make it clear that it is only for this purpose and to name your company as the commissioner of the work.
You might wonder why this should be necessary.
Having copies, especially of design images, photographs, software and websites and the right to use them ensures you cannot be held to ransom by the supplier.
The original agreement which may be a simple purchase order should include evidence of your exclusive rights in the content and will help establish your claims against anyone else trying to use it.

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Does your business ask for testimonials?

Small traders do not always have the budget for expensive marketing but they do need to be visible; so getting noticed on social media can be particularly valuable, especially on Facebook and LinkedIn.
But how do potential customers tell whether these businesses deliver good quality products and services?
Many SMEs have their own networks and get business by being recommended via local and online groups.
A personal introduction is often the best form of referral but a good reputation can be established online.
However, even then, the potential customer is likely to carry out further research before committing to buying, especially for tradesmen and for business to business support and professional services.
This is where genuine recommendations from satisfied clients and customers are the key, especially if the clients who made them are willing to be contacted by potential clients.
Recommendations and testimonials in addition to being a “thank you” for work well done, are also great for the business’ reputation. They should be part of every SME profile, business page and website.
Sometimes a client will volunteer a testimonial or recommendation without being asked but the question is do you, and should you, actually ask for them as part of your marketing strategy?