This podcast is hosted by Anthony M. Verna III, Esq. Anthony focuses on Intellectual Property including trademark, copyright, patent, licensing, advertising/promotion and food law and domain name disputes. For more visit vernalaw.com. Attorney advertising.
Law & Business Podcast: Episode 58 Anthony Verna and James Kwon – Three Items Marketers Need to Know Now
On Episode 58 of the "Law & Business" Podcast, Anthony sits down with James Kwon, the CEO and Executive Strategy Chef of Figmints, a digital marketing agency in Providence, Rhode Island. Figmints has cracked the code on creating, developing, and delivering the scalable, repeatable marketing, and sales models that create results, drive revenue, and keep its clients smiling.
The conversation is about the Three Items Marketers Need to Know Now - right now, with the COVID pandemic hitting. Earlier, the podcast discussed why now is a perfect time for companies to continue to advertise - here are some thoughts on the strategy of how to advertise and market.
A lightly-edited transcript follows:
Anthony Verna: (00:02)All right, everyone. Welcome to the Law and Business podcast. With me is James Kwon from Figments. How are you doing James?
James Kwon:I'm doing as well as I can be. Thanks, Anthony.
Anthony Verna:You're feeling a little cabin fever lately?
James Kwon:There's certainly the Groundhog Day scenario of repetition. I just had a great morning check-in huddle with the team and just reminding them to break the repetition and to stay sane. And that was my tip for this week.
Anthony Verna:I think that's a very good, good tip for this week and I have to check in with my team as well. Our team is split between the East coast and the West coast. So I generally don't have like a one team phone call.
James Kwon:That makes sense.
Anthony Verna:Yeah. So James, tell us a little bit about yourself and a little about Figments as an agency.
James Kwon: (00:58)Yeah, happy to. So, I run a digital marketing firm, full service digital firm called figments fig M I N T s.com. And, we do storytelling that actually proves revenue results. So start with brand storytelling, logo design, website design development, because of course we have to, but this last part where we're actually proving results for clients by setting up digital automation, content creation, thought leadership so we can drive traffic and see real results happen, and we actually do some of those calls on behalf of the client. So we're really trying to take as much of that funnel responsibility as possible. And I've been running an agency now for, it's our eighth year. We're about 20 full time employees. Since Figments I've started about nine companies so I'm a little bit of a serial entrepreneur. Have a little, some startups and some software companies and some subsidiaries.I just got invited to speak at Inbound. I’m not sure if you're familiar with it.
Anthony Verna:I am certainly familiar. I'm certainly familiar with it. I mean, everybody listening is, sure.
James Kwon:So Inbound, it's the largest marketing conference in the world. It's run by the software tool, HubSpot's, which is very fast growing. It's a hot stock to keep your eye on and just got invited to speak which is flattering.
Anthony Verna:One particular question you certainly said that your agency helps with thought leadership, which is a buzzword, but I'm gonna have you break it down. What does thought leadership exactly mean?
James Kwon:Yeah, great question. So this day…
Anthony Verna:I only try to ask the great ones, man. I try not to ask stupid ones.
James Kwon:Great job so far. So the thought leadership is a principle behind content marketing where today buyers are more inform...
Law & Business Episode 57: Intellectual Property, Bankruptcy, and Employment Law Effects due to COVID with John Eastwood
Anthony Verna sat down with John Eastwood of Eiger Law in Taipei, Taiwan to talk about some of the effects of the COVID pandemic. Some of the topics covered are intellectual property, especially in relationship to bankruptcy, and employment law across borders and oceans. Supply chains are affected, also.
Anthony Verna: (00:02)And welcome to the Law and Business podcast. On this episode is the most frequent guest, John Eastwood. How are you doing, John?
John Eastwood:Doing well, doing well. I'm here in Taipei. My colleagues in Shanghai have apparently weathered quite a bit of the storm in the sense that Shanghai has not been so heavily affected. Taiwan, in the midst of this Corona virus situation is actually doing really well. It's become a bit of a model for… and it's been getting plaudits from different ends of the political spectrum of the United States. You get like the Wall Street Journal recently from kind of, an editorial perspective. It was lauding that Taiwan could be a model for what other countries could do. And then on the other side of the spectrum, I think we just got a shout out from Barbara Streisand on Twitter.
The entertaining thing for that. The Taiwan government. I mean, I love the job of doing on Corona virus and it was currently, we're still living in the three hundreds at this point. We hear on as we recorded this in early April. But in terms of number of in fact the event, the administrative foreign affairs and Taiwan retweeted Barbara Streisand, so a tweet and said, Oh, you know, you're just basically, you're so awesome. Thank you for saying this. And one can only just look at how exactly the same concept of cooperation to reach great heights together in a mutually working mutually between scientists and government are exactly mirrored in the story for A Star is Born and you haven't seen A Star is Born. Kris Kristofferson does not come out on the ending of A Star is Born.
Anthony Verna:Well at least that version of it, John. This is what the fourth version of that story?
John Eastwood:I was just talking with my wife and kids about that this morning. We're up to four versions of A Star is Born.
Anthony Verna:Actually, I think it's five.
John Eastwood: (02:37)Any of them end well? Well, they're not happy stories, but you know, it's helpful idea. Like a star rises and one falls and you know, so that's not the point of the story is not that two stars rise together and reach their greatest heights and happiness anyway. Any hoo anyhoo yeah, no. See these are things that are the Chinese famous. He said these are interesting times.
Anthony Verna: (03:04)What's it like going in and out of buildings in Taipei? Like are you… I mean, we're stuck at home. We're on an order that if it's not essential, and of course the definition of essential I think is constitutionally problematic because you've got states like New York that says that say that alcohol is not a problem. Pennsylvania says we're shutting down all the alcohol stores cause they're state run. And Massachusetts has said that alcohol is essential. Medical marijuana is not essential. So there might be a little vagueness here as to what, what essential might be, but we're not going out unless it's the grocery store and even then, I hope we stocked up long enough to keep us interested in dinner for a while. That gigantic pack of chicken thighs is not exactly exciting, but you know, it's in the freezer.
John Eastwood: (04:13)We do approach the trips to Costco like it's a military operation, like, you know,
Law & Business Episode 56: Changing Mindsets with Jim Frawley
In Episode 56 of the "Law & Business" podcast, Anthony speaks to Jim Frawley of Bellwether (at bellwetherhub.com), an executive coach. Jim helps his clients with that a slight push, or a friendly face when they try something new. Whatever you want Jim and Bellwether to be, that’s what they can be. Don’t just talk about the next steps – take an actual step to getting it done.
Their topic is the hot-button issue is that as life is temporarily changed, our mindsets need to change. Jim loves to help people get stuff done. This can mean at the office, at home or in their community. It’s about getting motivated, disciplined individuals together to share ideas, learn from each other, and have fun. It is said that we are a result of the five people closest to us, so he wants to fish for those five that will challenge and help you improve the most.
Enjoy the episode - don't forget to rate us!
Anthony Verna: (00:04)Welcome to the Law and Business podcast, the least creatively named podcast out there in podcast land. With me is Jim Frawley. How you doing, Jim?
Jim Frawley:Fantastic day. I love being on such a creatively titled show.
Anthony Verna:Thank you very much. And, Jim, you're from Bellwether where you do a lot of business and executive coaching.
Jim Frawley:Yeah, we work a lot with senior executives and teams and organizations and then we work a lot with small businesses on their strategic direction and figuring out what it is that they want to do to get to the next level.
Anthony Verna:Excellent. Well, thank you for being on and for all of you out there who have forgotten what podcast you're listening to, I'm Anthony Verna, managing partner at Verna Law. And so, Jim, a lot of businesses, of course, are adjusting to the current new normal. I hesitate a little bit to call it anything more than the current new normal because I think we'll get back to normal at some point, even if it's in three or four months, I think we'll get back to normal. But, maybe that's my positive thinking.
Jim Frawley:Well, normal is subjective.
Anthony Verna:Well, that's true as well.
Jim Frawley:It's going to be interesting to see what that normal actually is.
Anthony Verna:That's true as well. So, from a coaching standpoint, the hot button items that your clients are coming to you about right now?
Jim Frawley:Well, there are a lot of the small business owners, especially the ones who are sole proprietors…
Anthony Verna:They're probably freaking out and panicking…
Jim Frawley:Incredibly and for good reason, right? Most sole proprietors can't file for unemployment. Most sole proprietors, this is their sole income for their family. And business has just dried up overnight for a lot of them, other than the other businesses that are completely overwhelmed with the type of work. So, it's really dependent on the type of business that you're in and, and where you're shaking out on it.
So, cashflow is obviously one of the big challenges that most of them are focused on, of course. But the other one that they're really interested in, and the one that I like to talk to most of my clients about is remaining relevant. And one of the big tokens of advice I give to my clients is, while you may not have revenue coming in, there is still an opportunity to not be forgotten from a business perspective. So we want to make sure that, you know, people's attention is everywhere right now how do you put your service and product front and center? It's probably just noise at this point. So how do you do it?
Law & Business Episode 55 with Chelsey Pendock: Advertise in Difficult Times
In Episode 55 of the "Law & Business" Podcast, Anthony speaks with Chelsey Pendock of Innovision Advertising. Innovision is an advertising placement agency and Chelsey discusses the sudden changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes which businesses are advertising, and why it is still important to advertise in more difficult economic times.
Anthony Verna: (00:02)And welcome to the Law and Business podcast. You already know I'm Anthony Verna. with me is Chelsea Pendock from InnoVision Advertising. How are you doing, Chelsea?
Chelsey Pendock: (00:12)Hi Anthony. I'm doing well. Thank you for having me on your show.
Anthony Verna:Hey, not a problem. It's the least showy show in all of podcast world. So, it's also the least creatively titled show in all of podcastville as well.
Chelsey Pendock:So it gets right to the point.
Anthony Verna: (00:30)So, uh, InnoVision advertising is a what I would define as an advertising placement agency. How am I doing?
Chelsey Pendock: (00:38)That's correct. We specialize in media buying and media planning. We don't do the creative in house, but we can certainly advise clients with advertising strategy and work with the creative team to make the messages best and most effective as it can possibly be. But our internal specialty is negotiating media rates and placing the media for clients, determining where they should be advertising to see an investment or a return on their investment rather.
Anthony Verna: (01:12)In a time like this, I would assume that everybody's first instinct is to, you know, especially those who are running businesses is to stop their advertising.
Chelsey Pendock: (01:25)Yes. That is usually the first thing. When a panic hits, people always think of advertising as something that's not really a necessity. Depending on the type of business you're in, that actually could be true or it, most of the time actually isn't. Yes, sometimes it is one of the first things to get caught in a recession.
Anthony Verna: (01:54)So, have you been seeing that over the last two to three weeks?
Chelsey Pendock: (02:00)We have, it just depends on the industry. There are certain businesses that are struggling right now and there are certain businesses that are actually thriving right now. Some of the clients that we work with that we're seeing that had to make cuts are particularly in retail, plastic surgery, salons, restaurants, events in particular, and automotive and anything in the luxury sector as well. Travel. But we don't work with a lot of entertainment clients, but we have seen a lot of people shying away too from, you know, Broadway shows. They can't go to movie theaters anymore. So TV productions have been on hold. So we are seeing that. However, there are some businesses that are actually thriving in this type of environment who we work with, like healthcare providers, of course, lenders in particular, grocery stores, accountants, auto repairs, everyone still needs to get their cars repaired. And then of course, technology companies like Zoom I'm sure are doing phenomenally well at this time.
Anthony Verna: (03:13)You know, speaking of grocery stores, a couple of the podcasts that I listened to specifically from Philadelphia and one of the grocery store chains there has started advertising for employees and they are blunt to the point. In this time of need, we have developed a need for more people to come and work for us.
Law & Business Podcast Episode 54: A Unique Product does not a Business Make
It is our final episode with the Nessa Group, even though our relationship will last a long time.
In this episode, the Nessa Group discusses a business with a unique and very special product. The product has the ability to help other businesses greatly. However, the business is built on shaky ground and the discussion revolves around that a business needs more than just a unique product.
Anthony Verna: (00:00)Welcome to our eighth and final episode of our special mini-series with the NESSA Group. We'll start. Hi, Jim Huerta. How are you?
Jim Huerta: (00:08)I’m doing well and I'm happy that we've accomplished the eight episodes and I hope that they draw a lot of attention.
Anthony Verna: (00:14)Thank you, sir. And Barry Kolevzon, the other principle of the NESSA Group. How are you doing?
Barry Kolevzon:I'm doing fine. Getting educated. Learning more than we know now.
Anthony Verna:All right. Wil Jacques, our patent professor.
Wil Jacques:Yes. Always a pleasure to be here.
Anthony Verna:Justin Tripodi, our branding buddy.
Justin Tripodi:Pleasure to be here, Anthony.
Anthony Verna:I'm sorry I couldn't do better than that on the illiteration and Scott Mautner, our corporate attorney. How you doing?
Scott Mautner:Doing well, thank you.
Anthony Verna:And which firm are you with, for attorney ethics?
Scott Mautner:Harrington, Ocko and Monk.
Anthony Verna:I'm managing partner of Verna Law also. So on this particular case study is a former client of the NESSA Group and one that most of us here have experience with. So, let's talk a little bit about the software that this particular client had made. And it did really work very well. It made that client, and that company, I should say a leader in online shopping experiences. Jim, why don't you take it from there?
Jim Huerta:Just give it a backdrop. Sure, sure. The company had been up and around for a while. They actually had established a quite a bit of patents. I'm going to say it's somewhere in the 30s. I'm not totally positive right now how many patents they had. But it was, I think ahead of its time. It was a way that shoppers online cannot lose track of what they had been looking at or what they had been shopping for. You were able to have like a cookie sitting inside the shopping process where it would take you right back to where you left off of what you were interested in depending on the store, whether it'd be a jewelry store or a clothing store. The utilization and the possible additional utilizations were non-ending. I mean, you can keep on thinking about how many things you can do with it.
Anthony Verna: (02:13)So Jim, a user would be able to leave the website store and come back to it with the cart exactly as it was.
Anthony Verna:And then would the user also see remnants of this cart, for lack of a better word, around the web? So if I close this cart and this store and I went like onto Facebook and I went to Twitter, would I see other ads targeted to me to go back?
Jim Huerta: (02:40)I think it would be more specific and driven to the establishment that were using the app.
Anthony Verna: (02:45)Okay. So, there were also a special ways that if I recall correctly that an ad could be shown to a user as well.
Law & Business Podcast Episode 53: A Plush Toy Client Begins with Consultants
It is the seventh and penultimate episode of this special mini-series with the Nessa Group, in which the discussion is about a plush toy company that is a start-up. The toy company has been able to services from Verna Law and the Nessa Group in order to get started - a mixture of intellectual property and business know-how. There was even some highly creative market research done at Toy Fair.
Anthony Verna: (00:01)Welcome to the seventh episode of our special mini-series with the NESSA Group. Jim Huerta, how's it going?
Jim Huerta:It's going well. I think we're making great progress. Great conversation. I hope the audience will enjoy some of the points that we're making.
Anthony Verna:I hope so too. Barry Kolevzon, how you feeling?
Barry Kolevzon:Feeling better every time we get involved in this area. And actually, …
Anthony Verna:You've got more…
Barry Kolevzon:where I think that we've got a nice length of time to build relationships. Thank you.
Anthony Verna:Thank you. Barry. Wil Jacques, patent connoisseur. How's it going?
Wil Jacques:Another great day. Great to be here.
Anthony Verna:Wonderful. Justin Tripodi, brand king.
Justin Tripodi:I was wondering if I was going to get a title this time. How you doing, Anthony?
Anthony Verna:Wonderful. Thank you. Scott Mautner, corporate attorney.
Scott Mautner:I'm doing well. Thank you. And I am with Harrington, Ocko and Monk before you ask.
Anthony Verna: (01:03)And I am managing partner at Verna Law. So let's talk about a little bit about the plush toy industry. Wil and I have lots of plush toy experience. Wil, you have written one patent or is it multiple patents…
Wil Jacques:Multiple patents.
Anthony Verna:For the plush toy you're currently holding? Nobody can see that you're holding it. So props don't do very well on audio, but, but you are holding the product.
Wil Jacques:Well, the audience can hear him.
Anthony Verna: (01:48)Let's talk about the patent because it's been published. So it is public. So let's talk a little bit about the patent application that was made for this particular product. What makes it so unique?
Wil Jacques:Ah, very interesting. And actually only one of the patents has been published, but, the plush toy industry, you know, has seen some innovation obviously over the last 80 years. But there's been very little has been done recently I think we would look to Jennifer Telfer’s pillow pets as an example of an innovation in the plush toy space. This particular toy actually tells a story, you know, around let's say a fairy tale figure that kids are familiar with, but it provides that story by putting some elements or features as we patent folks like to call it into the plush toy.
Anthony Verna: (02:44)Okay. So, so yeah, just tell us a little bit about what the patent discl...