It’s Intellectual Property Rights week. Every last week of October has been named Intellectual Property Rights week by Presidential Proclamation No. 79. Contrary to what most people think, intellectual property is more than just about battling pirated software and fake designer bags. It covers any creation of the mind—copyrights, trademarks or brands, patents, industrial designs, and undisclosed information. So that includes written works, audio visual creations, music, inventions, and distinctive marks, among others. Have you protected your trademark already? How about copyrighting that catchy jingle or that unique product design? Think of them as your assets--and they are, intangible and valuable--that need protection. As we can see, they’re fairly easy to copy. Safeguarding IP assets is thus vital to ensure that artists, inventors, and innovators benefit from their creations. According to Atty. Ferdinand Negre, partner of Bengzon Negre Untalan Intellectual Property Attorneys, “Intellectual property is steadily gaining recognition, not only on a global scale, but locally as well. Addressing IP concerns in the Philippines becomes all the more pressing because it is one of the keys for the nation’s advancement.” The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) is the country's mandated agency in charge of implementing IP policies. Its strategic goals for 2007-2009 are focused on delivering quality patents and trademarks, facilitating technology transfer, supporting small and medium enterprises and creative industries, and developing a vibrant IP culture. Atty. Adrian Cristobal, Jr. is the current director general of IP Philippines. To know more about protecting and registering your IP assets, as well as the various activities of Intellectual Property Rights Week: Innovation in Motion, visit IP Philippines' official website here.
October 2008 Archives
High school and college students no longer have to travel for hours to log on to the Internet, as the Sogod Community e-Center has become a center for e-learning in the community. Public school teachers in Sogod, Cebu, introduce new teaching methods to facilitate easy learning. They frequent the Sogod Community e-Center to do research on teaching aides. Before, teachers in the sleepy town of Sogod had to travel for two hours to access the Internet in Cebu City. “I always go to Cebu City to research on things I need for teaching,” relates Vivien Coming, a single mother and a pre-school teacher in her mid-20s. On the Internet, Vivien says that it is easy to find teaching aids, educational games, and stories that she shares with co-teachers and students. So, the long road trip was a sacrifice that she willingly endured because she saw the value of the Internet to her line of work as an educator. So when she learned that a community e-Center had been set up in Sogod, she thought that it was a “gift from heaven.” “We are very happy to have a community e-Center here in Sogod. It makes research so much easier, and I no longer have to incur huge travel costs,” Vivien said. Teachers like Vivien are not the only ones to benefit from the educational opportunities offered by the e-Center. Divina Santillan, who co-manages the e-Center with her husband Reynold, sees how people always look forward to the free basic computer and internet literacy program being conducted at the e-Center by her husband. “We also conduct free training programs on Excel, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint for those who want to learn these basic computer programs. Trainees always express satisfaction because they learned a lot of things,” she says. The free training that these two former out-of-school-youth-turned-community-mentors provide does not go unrewarded. The more they train, the more future customers they have, and indeed, the Center is flourishing due in part to the increasing number of high school, elementary and college students, teachers, cooperative members and townsfolk who have started using the facilities. The community e-Center in Sogod, Cebu, is one of the beneficiaries of the Last Mile Initiative Program of the USAID-funded EMERGE project. Working with World Corps, a local nonprofit organization, the LMIP program provided computers and upgraded existing units of the Center. LMIP also facilitated the Center’s new broadband connection that makes e-learning more enjoyable and efficient, and which has now enabled the Center to explore new revenue-generating applications like Internet telephony. *This is a guest post from the Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program at the Ateneo School of Government.
THE HOLIDAY season is already here in the Philippines, where we celebrate as early as the –ber months kick in. If you’re in retail, now’s the time to put up your Christmas window display if you haven’t done so already. According to interior designer Ellaine Estrella-Elevado, the window display is very important especially for retail stores. “It attracts people to go inside the store and check out what they are offering or selling for the season. And for the holiday season, having Christmas decors in a store not only enhances people’s feelings of Christmas; subconsciously, it puts them in the Christmas spirit of giving or shopping,” she says. The window display is thus a marketing tool. Elevado has been doing window displays for the past two years for jewelry store Karat World, but she has been designing interiors of homes, offices and stores for a long time now. “The store has to look beautiful to entice people to come in and eventually convince them to buy,” adds Elevado. She prefers simple and traditional décor, varying color according to the season. It takes her two days to make the décor then a whole day to put them up. Since Karat World has seven stores in Manila, it takes her a week to put everything up in Manila. The décor changes per season: Valentine’s, summer, Christmas, etc. How can you determine what kind of décor and window display to put up? Elevado says the designs should complement the products being sold. “The store has to look beautiful but the products should still stand out.”
IT IS disheartening to hear and read about families losing homes in the U.S., companies being denied access to credit, and retirement funds losing in value. But here in the Philippines, it is not so bad. At TriNoMa mall last Friday, people milled about, going in and out of stores and lugging shopping bags with them. Agents for credit cards were still handing out application forms in the mall. Several other malls in Metro Manila were also on sale this past weekend and people trooped to shop at a discount there and at village bazaars. As JP Morgan said, the Philippines may weather the financial crisis even if it has significant exposure to an emerging global recession. This is because of internal buffers built in the system. Indeed as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has assured the public, the banking system is adequately capitalized. Butch Mossesgeld, a certified securities representative for PCCI Securities Brokers Corp., believes God has a hand in it. “You know, I observed that God spared our country from this crisis because during the Asian Crisis that started in 1997 the financial and property sector were restructuring their portfolio and capital structure to stay afloat. Fortunately it was only two years ago that they were starting to recover so they didn't have the opportunity to invest aggressively. That’s the reason I believe we were spared,” he says. "A man's steps are directed by the Lord." -- Proverbs 20:24
Photo courtesy of Dylac By Mark Ruiz The humble sari-sari store is the smallest kind of store in the Philippines, but it can also be one of the most powerful. It’s normally started by a simple Nanay from a humble background who wants to augment the family income. After all, the sari-sari store is a relatively simple business to start. It’s home-based, which means that there’s no rent nor major construction expenses. In most cases, it’s literally a hole in the wall. All the Nanay needs to get started is a little capital--just a couple of thousand pesos will be enough to buy the initial goods. These items are then sold with a little margin, more inventory is bought, these in turn are sold, and so on and so forth. The virtuous cycle of sari-sari store retailing has begun. But because the sari-sari store is small, the earnings are also relatively small. And because most sari-sari store owners don’t have proper training and enough access to opportunities, there is little room to grow. And because the sari-sari stores are not organized, their collective potential is largely untapped. Fact : the sari-sari store IS small. But with more than 600,000 of them nationwide, collectively that’s a powerful, positive force from the bottom-of-the-pyramid that can be unleashed. It was in this spirit and opportunity that HAPINOY was born. HAPINOY is an organized chain of Sari-Sari Stores owned and run by disciplined microfinancing borrowers, and trained with standardized operating systems. Our company, MicroVentures, partnered with Microfinancing Institutions such as CARD-MRI, TSKI, Kasagana-Ka, and SEEDFinance to provide business development services to these stores for them to grow and evolve. The key benefits to Hapinoy members include a micro-loan, access to better prices and new businesses, training and values formation, store branding, and community development. Hopefully, all these services will help us realize our mission of empowering microentrepreneurs. On top of our partnerships with Microfinancing Institutions, Hapinoy has also created a network of partner-manufacturers who support the program. Through these relationships, Hapinoy stores are able to bulk-source products which are sold through Hapinoy Community Stores. The Hapinoy Community Stores are run by Nanays who started out as small sari-sari stores who are then taken to the next level – from a micro-business into a small business. In fact, we already have a lot of successful Hapinoy Community Store owners, some who started out as a hole-in-the-wall store but now can be considered a mini-grocery. Once successful, the Hapinoy program can professionalize communities of sari-sari stores, and ultimately evolve them. This will be achieved through new products and services, the use of technology, and the marketing of community-produced goods. With all these efforts, we deliberately want to take the humble sari-sari store to the next level and unleash their potential. But it’s not enough that we just focus on economic improvement. Hapinoy also has a strong values formation program in order to make the program more wholistic. By empowering our Nanays, we hope to have an impact to their families. By evolving the stores, we hope to have an impact on the communities. As we always say, “kung ang Nanay ang ilaw ng tahanan, sana ang Hapinoy ay magiging ilaw ng komunidad.” Hapinoy, ultimately, hopes to contribute in our own small way to nation-building. For more information about Hapinoy, do check out our website, www.hapinoy.com. *Mark is the Managing Director of MicroVentures Inc.
No, that’s not CR as in Customer Relations. It’s CR as Filipinos know it—Comfort Room. It seems Filipinos use this unique term for the bathroom. The British call theirs the loo, while Americans call theirs the restroom or the toilet. Now how’s your establishment’s CR? Believe it or not, CRs are now being reviewed in CR Diaries, a unique section of the online city guide Spot. Those that look nice, clean and smell good are praised, while those that need improvement are singled out. The CR Diaries came about this year due to the personal interest of the people behind Spot (community editor Karl Bustamante, managing editor Cathy Paras, and web producer Trixie Zabal). They also were inspired by Lonely Planet’s Bluelist on the Worst Toilets in the World and other related websites and blogs on the same topic. “The goal of CR Diaries,” says Paras, “is threefold: 1. To praise restaurants and establishments/spots who actually pay attention to the cleanliness of their comfort rooms and the ‘comfort’ level of their patrons. 2. To smoke, or should I say ‘flush’ out (no pun intended), spots who clearly need to work on their CRs. More often than not, the CRs we’ve reviewed aren’t really ‘bad’ across the board. For example, we may be turned off by the lack of a toilet seat and a soap dispenser, but we may praise the spot for placing a deodorizer in the stall. Contrarily, we may be in love with a CR that meets all of our hygiene and aesthetic needs, but we may find its use of space completely useless. 3. To make it clear that one’s dining/going out experience is sometimes highly dependent on one’s CR experience.” Readers have been intrigued by CR Diaries, posting comments on reviews published therein. CRs that have garnered high ratings so far include Tiendesitas, The Fort Strip, Max’s Restaurant in its original location on Scout Tuazon Street in Quezon City, and Trinoma Mall, among others. Paras says the idea of taking pride in one’s establishment’s CR seems to be a recent development in Manila. “We are a city that, on our bad days, still thinks it’s ok to pee facing the wall/tree/car tire, despite all signage and laws indicating otherwise. For us at Spot, to love your CR and to be proud of it means to walk the talk, so to speak, so we expect to see toilet paper, deodorizers, functioning door locks, paper towels or an electric hand drier, in the CR – at the very least. It’s quite rare to find a CR with all of the aforementioned toilet accoutrement. But I do think that we have an interest in CRs – an equal interest in the pretty and the sweet-smelling ones, and a morbid fascination in ones that make us plug our noses and gag.” In Paras’ opinion, the current state of CRs in the metro is not as horrible as it used to be, but things can still be improved. “As a city, we can do so much better, and without the help of attendants at that. We can be more disciplined as Manileños in caring for our toilet and CR space for the moment that we are using it so that everyone else who uses it after can enjoy the same clean, properly equipped, safe, well-lit, sweet (or at least neutral) smelling CR that we all love to use and for which we’d even pay a measly twenty pesos, if we were guaranteed the said qualities.” So better make sure that CR is scrubbed clean, is deodorized and has an ample supply of soap, tissue paper, paper towels, and water (of course!) to make people want to come back to your establishment. Users also have the responsibility to keep it clean for the next users.
SAY MARIKINA and one of the first things that comes to mind is shoes. It’s no secret that Marikina-made shoes are of good quality. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos has thousands of them, as can be seen from the shoe museum in the city. Marikina is the shoe capital of the Philippines. The shoe industry in Marikina was said to have started in 1887 by Don Laureano Guevara, also known as Kapitan Moy. According to the Marikina city government website (http://www.marikina.gov.ph/PAGES/history2.htm), Kapitan Moy bought a pair of imported shoes and asked his workmen to duplicate them. Soon, many other residents learned shoemaking and the rest is history. The website also says that as of 1983, 70 percent of shoe production in the country can be traced to Marikina. Shoes from Marikina have also penetrated the foreign markets. Due to globalization and the cheap imports coming in from abroad, though, the production of shoes in Marikina has been affected. But the government and private sector have been working to uplift the industry. Jenny Legarda, one of the co-owners of Teal Shoes and Bags, and a shoe factory owner in the city, says Marikina-made shoes are of good quality and can be at par with imported ones. “It’s just a matter of teaching shoemakers to do it properly. It’s a skill you have to acquire,” she says. The problem she sees, now, however, is the declining interest in shoemaking among the young people. “The young ones don’t want to go into it. Most workers are aged 50 and above,” adds Jenny. This is a concern that must be addressed. Who will take over the aging shoemakers in Marikina? “The government should push for and support the local shoemaking industry,” says Jenny.
I WAS astounded as my friend almost cried over the phone a couple of weeks ago. She is the head of a trading company in Manila and just discovered that her most trusted assistant had been taking money from the company for the past six or so months. The amount: over P1 million already. And it all happened right under her nose. My friend is a kind person and trusted her assistant greatly. Whenever she had to go out of the country or out of town, which happens at least once or twice a month, her assistant would oversee the day-to-day operations of the company. This assistant has been with the company for over two years already and has shown herself to be reliable. She had great administrative skills. When the bank the company used to do business with merged with a bigger bank, that’s when trouble started. Payroll, which used to be given out through employees’ ATMs, had to be done by check voucher. My busy friend would sign the vouchers presented by her manager. Little did she know that her manager had been padding up the payroll check and pocketing some of the money. I was sad that this had to happen. But it has happened all too often already. Within the past two years, I know two people, both CEOs of their companies, who also fell victim to this kind of scam done by their very own assistants right under their noses. In one case, the amount added up to P5 million, and the money used by the assistant to buy a parcel of land in the province. Dr. Henry Cloud, author of the book 9 Things a Leader Must Do, confesses to having faced a similar trial. “An employee of mine had horribly mismanaged the company I owned while concealing from me the mounting debt his failures had cause,” Dr. Cloud writes. When he related the bad news to his business mentor, this man readily admitted to having been there too. His mentor said, “Anyone who builds something gets duped or fooled or surprised at least once. We have all had this experience where we don’t know the next step or how to get out of trouble. But I’m confident that you’ll figure it out. In fact, this is when you are at your best.” Everyone goes through some sort of failure and mistake in business. The successful leader accepts this and moves on. Dr. Cloud adds: “Déjà vu leaders…are not surprised that they make mistakes; as a result, they can identify with others who do, give to them, and not judge them or wrongly judge themselves.” So, bad things happen. But we can all learn from them. For starters, make sure internal controls are tight. Next, arm yourself with knowledge. My friend, for instance, is planning to attend the next Accounting for Non Accountants seminar at a university nearby.
By Marielle Nadal Starting any venture is always exciting. There’s the idea that lights a fire under your backside; the one that gets you all worked up you can’t sleep. Then there’s the stage of infecting others with the idea, and the idea snowballing into something with legs. Then there’s the high of pulling it off, the shared ecstasy of doing what you love, and for social enterprises—seeing the results, and the impact of what you’ve helped bring about. Then, there’s the equally important satisfaction of issuing yourself your first paycheck no matter how small. After the adrenaline rush dies a bit, and the back-patting stops, the reality of sustaining a social enterprise begins. Two years ago, we were crazy kids who just wanted to make the world a better place by exercising whatever God-given, UP-trained talent we had as graphic designers, writers, photographers, web designers, animators and filmmakers. Two financial grants later, with a hefty number of projects under our belts (which fluctuated in size through both the lean and the happy times), and enough anecdotes to make for interesting presentations, we’ve learned that though circumstances sometimes point otherwise, the possibilities never end. Idea!s Creatives began with five crazy kids, but now we can rightfully say that we are five wiser kids. A bit frayed at the edges, and battle-worn, but perhaps shinier as the past few years have not only rubbed us raw at times, but have also allowed us to see and experience even more of the inspiration that got us started in this venture in the first place. As a multimedia and creative communications outfit that specializes in the advocacies of cause-oriented organizations, we communicate what we’ve experienced, first-hand and through others. We write, and share the experience with others who perhaps seek inspiration. We design images that break down information, and emphasize meanings that allow people to better understand concepts and ideas. We capture photographs that tell compelling stories. We design websites, bookmarks, pamphlets, books, newsletters, banners, campaigns, exhibits, annual reports and interactive CDs that, in one way or another, seek to get across a mixture of altruism, optimism, the stark reality of facts, and hopeful ideas that will somehow impact lives. We’ve worked with organizations big and small, from causes such as cerebral palsy, to advocating renewable energy, to promoting social entrepreneurship among the youth. Simply put, we do what we do because it’s the best way we know how to make the world a better place. We’re graphic designers who’ve become social entrepreneurs, and are ensuring the longevity of our endeavor by studying the nitty-gritty of running an organization (where else will you find a bookkeeper-cum-animator?). Oh how we’ve grown. What lies ahead, we feel, may be more challenging than a startup. But we give ourselves leeway to explore, to play, and to exercise, looking at things from an upside down point of view once in a while. We’ve ventured into organizing venues to engaging more people into what we do. And having more people share the view (of a county, or of a world we own), not only brings more hands into the equation of the work we face, but also deepens the spring where we draw inspiration. And as we multiply hands, we watch the horizon widen. Idea!s Creatives (www.ideals-creatives.com) is Rhea Alarcon, Bernice de Leon, Dan Matutina, Marielle Nadal and Jan Virnice Sering. Some other activities they’ve spawned as Idea!s are Design to Make a Difference (www.ideals-creatives.com/designdiff) and Pecha Kucha Night Manila (www.pechakuchamanila.com).
Because Filipinos are really outstanding, it's no wonder that Pinoys are making waves in other shores. Rico Hizon is now a topnotch anchor at British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), while Josie Natori is well respected in the fashion scene around the world as head of the Natori fashion empire. The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) awarded both personalities the BPInoy Awards for overseas Filipinos last Friday, October 3, at ceremonies held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The awards were presented by BPI Director Fernando Zobel de Ayala, BPI President Aurelio R. Montinola III, BPI Senior Vice President Teresita B. Tan, and Secretary Marianito Roque of the Department of Labor and Employment. "BPI is privileged to share and celebrate the success achieved by Overseas Filipinos who have truly demonstrated inherent Pinoy values," said Montinola, "the same values that catapulted them to world renown bringing honor and recognition to our country." The bank started honoring outstanding overseas Filipinos via the BPInoy Awards three years ago to encourage nationalism among Filipinos abroad and to communicate the bank's commitment to excellence in the service of overseas Filipinos. "Receiving the BPInoy Award is a particularly significant recognition for me because I feel that my life's work has been acknowledged and my passion, validated," said Hizon, "I am incredibly blessed that my work allows me to do what I love and I am very grateful to BPI for appreciating what I have accomplished." "Josie strongly believes that to be Pinoy is to be sipag, to be tipid and to be mapagmahal," said Natori's mother Angelita Cruz who received the award on Natori's behalf. "She is deeply committed to these values and the guidance they have offered and continue to offer in her life. "What I admire most about the two awardees--aside from their excellence in their respective fields--is their common mission to help uplift the Filipino. Hizon has been promoting Filipino art in Singapore where he is based, while Natori has her factories in the Philippines providing jobs to many Filipinos. May there be more like them! Photo on top shows: BPI SVP Teresita B. Tan, BPI Director Fernando Zobel de Ayala, 2008 BPInoy Awardee and BBC broadcast journalist Rico Hizon, BPI President and CEO Aurelio R. Montinola III, Angelita Cruz (mother of 2008 BPInoy Awardee and international fashion designer Josie Natori), and Secretary Marianito Roque of the Department of Labor and Employment. Photo on left: Josie Natori
By Anna Valmero Inquirer.net “The essence of positioning is to look for an open hole in the consumer mind and aim to be the first to fill that open hole with your brand.” Thus spoke marketing guru Al Ries during the Brand Strategy Forum held at Dusit Thani Makati, October 1. Ries declared in 1970 the positioning era in the advertising age and reshape the perspective of advertising. To survive in today’s world of global brands, an intelligent approach to positioning is a must. Ries, in an interview with INQUIRER.net, explained that positioning as a marketing component goes beyond communication. It is focusing on one idea to promote the brand—a strategy that most companies do not follow. According to Ries, companies often change their marketing strategy every year--launching a new program or a new idea, only to find out in the end it doesn’t work for them. “It takes a long time to establish an idea in mind,” Ries stressed. The Marlboro cigarette brand, for example, began by using cowboys in 1953. “Fifty-five years after, Marlboro advertising still carries the same images of cowboys and Marlboro country. That’s what having consistency with your brand means.” How will brand consistency help companies adopt to change? “The strategy should be consistent but the strategy should come from the tactics,” said Ries. “Before, advertising is done in print but now, you can go with the Internet. That’s okay. But remember: the strategy should not change — it’s the same brand, it ought to have the same strategy forever.” According to the author of the book entitled “Positioning,” companies should resist from changing the strategy of their brand in the goal to make the brand appeal to a new market. A good approach is to launch a new brand that solely aims to cater and appeal to the new target market. Using the same branding for different products is a no-no, said Ries. “To survive in the long run, companies should go global,” said as he challenged the Filipino forum participants. Global brands are everywhere and most product categories moving toward the same direction. Unless companies step up the plate to compete with the global brands, the Philippine market will shrink, he said. An example is the Red Bull brand, a brain-child of Dietrich Mateschitz. The businessman visited Thailand once, drank its Krating Daeng and found a gap unfilled in the global market, giving birth to the energy drink. Is there a formula to duplicate this success? “There are no formulas. You have to find that unique idea,” said Ries. “Develop a brand that is different from others and then, you can go global. The idea doesn’t have to be revolutionary but it has to be different.”
SOME OF the old established art galleries in Artwalk at the fourth level of SM Megamall are leaving the mall scene. Finale Art File, Gallery Genesis, and West Gallery will be moving out soon, says artist and gallery owner Soler Santos of West Gallery. According to Soler, Finale will be closing down its Megamall gallery this month and will concentrate on its new art space at La Fuerza Compound on Pasong Tamo Street, Makati. West Gallery, after 16 years in Artwalk, is leaving Megamall in February 2009 and will just operate its main gallery on West Avenue, Quezon City. High rent in malls has put a dent on art galleries’ incomes over the years. West Gallery, for instance, used to have branches in Glorietta 4 and The Power Plant, but closed them down a few years ago. Galleria Duemila left Megamall earlier, and now operates from its space on Loring Street in Pasay City. The trend now seems to be to locate art galleries outside central business districts to lower overhead costs. Doing so also allows galleries to have free rein over their storefront designs, which they cannot have when doing business in a mall as tenants. The Artwalk in SM Megamall was conceived as a venue to create awareness and bring art to the general public. This purpose has already been fulfilled, says Soler. “People have been exposed already to various kinds of art. Before, some would say, ‘Kaya ko rin ‘yan’ (I can do that too.) But we don’t hear those kinds of comments anymore. Nasanay na ang mga tao (People got used to it),” he says. Indeed, last weekend at Bago, the recent group show of young new artists shown at The Art Center in SM Megamall, people, both young and old, freely moved about and took in the artworks showing a variety of themes. The newer art galleries are still around at The Artwalk, such as Big & Small Art Co. and Renaissance. Of the original tenants, Crucible Gallery and Gallery Y are still holding the fort. Let’s hope they last long as looking at some art is like a breath of fresh air in a busy crowded shopping mall. (Photo shows part of Soler's current exhibit Stratus ongoing until October 7 at Finale Art File, Artwalk, SM Megamall. Photo courtesy of Soler)