The National Speakers Association was tired of being confused with the National Security Agency that has been stealing American’s information so they decided to steal Michael Hyatt’s brand. Take a moment to enjoy the irony of that. They avoided being the NSA that steals information by stealing. Like most thefts, this one is NOT going to end well for the thief.
This video is like a security camera. It captures the exact moment the crime happened.
You can’t steal a brand in 2014 and it has nothing to do with trademark laws.
Platform is a common word but it’s also already the name Michael Hyatt’s New York Times best-selling book, on-line community with thousands of members and conference. Their decision may have some legal ramifications since Hyatt started the process of trademarking the term a few months ago. The most important lesson we can all learn from their obvious mistake is that you don’t own your brand, your tribe does.
[Tweet “You don’t own your brand, your tribe does. @NSASpeaker #theft #Platform”]
Michael Hyatt has mentioned his disappointment on social media.
Sad to learn that @NSASpeaker has changed it’s name to Platform, since I have a book, conference, and membership site with that name. #NSA14
— Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) July 2, 2014
What’s more powerful is the response of hundreds of his tribe members.
@NSASpeaker ouch – didn’t research the brand enough to know @MichaelHyatt already has that one? Or just don’t care? — Tim Shutes (@timshutes) July 3, 2014
@NSASpeaker you completely lifted the @MichaelHyatt #platform brand. You cannot be serious! Answers please.
— Al Getler (@AlGetler) July 3, 2014
When you build an idea and a brand your tribe will protect it
Popular author Chris Ducker spoke at the event and when they announced branding theft/rebranding he said he was flabbergasted.
Don’t mess with the tribe
Their Instagram post has over 50 comments from defenders of Hyatt and zero responses by the NSA. Their last tweet points to a FAQ about the name change.
Looking for more information and FAQ about Platform? You can find it here: http://t.co/kM2JgLc5aj #NSA14 — Nat’l Speakers Assoc (@NSASpeaker) July 3, 2014
What we’re seeing is a great example of a hyper engaged tribe and a tone deaf organization.
[Tweet “What we’re seeing is an engaged tribe and a tone deaf organization. @nsaspeaker”]
I am part of Michael Hyatt’s tribe so my opinion is obviously biased. Even an outside observer can see that the branding theft is obvious. The red curtain background is the icing on the branding theft cake.
Did the National Speaker’s Association know?
NSA likely hired an outside firm to help them rebrand. That firm decided to use the name Platform with full knowledge of Hyatt’s existing branding and NSA leadership, also aware of Hyatt’s branding, agreed to the branding theft.
The money has been spent. The banners have been printed. NSA has backed themselves into a corner and they’re going to have to decide what to do. Some have suggested they change the name to “Podium”. The NSA has to the least make a statement acknowledging their right to use the name and at the most change the name again. My suggestion is that they do both.
This isn’t going away and it shouldn’t. My guess is that Hyatt is bothered by the move but he’s experiencing more joy than frustration right now because he’s watching his tribe defend him and his work.
There is no win-win
The organization of NSA and the work of Hyatt are too similar for this to be a win-win. Hyatt was there first. He din’t trademark the name because it’s a common word and frankly because he doesn’t have to. You don’t have to defend your brand, your tribe will do it for you.
My friend Mike Kim wrote a great summary of this incident as well. Michael Hyatt “Owns” Platform … And 4 More Reasons The NSA Blew It On Rebranding
For another perspective on protecting your ideas in a digital age read this post by Seth Godin –How To Protect Your Ideas In The Digital Age