Recently the National Speakers Association made a major mistake when they rebranded their conference as “Platform.”
The colors they chose, the elements of the design, and they way they are used seem nearly identical to author Michael Hyatt‘s previously established brand. A few years ago, Hyatt published a book called “Platform: Get Noticed In a Noisy World”. Hyatt also has a conference called “Platform” and a membership website called “Platform University”. What do we make of all this? Well…
NOTE: The NSA quickly responded to this situation, and handled it honorably. While they did not, to my knowledge, follow all of my recommendations, they did alter their branding. Thanks to Bruce Johnson for pointing out that the honaroable thing for me to do would be to publish this update!
It seems inconceivable that the NSA did not know of Hyatt, his brand, and its visual appearance. Either they intentionally copied Hyatt's branding, or they are so ignorant of their own industry they don't know who Michael Hyatt is. Considering the fact that Hyatt's book is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal best seller, and the fact that he has nearly a half million social media followers, it seems very unlikely the NSA isn't aware of him.
It seems clear, in fact, that the NSA has “borrowed” Hyatt's branding. This was an enormous mistake. Now that they have been called on the carpet by Hyatt's friends and fans, including Stu McLaren, Andy Traub, Mike Kim, and Kathleen Thompson, the NSA seems to be trying to sweep the matter under the rug quietly. Too late, NSA.
It's not too late for the National Speakers Association to make this right, and even recover from this major screwup. NSA, if you're reading this, here's what I recommend you do immediately:
- Issue a public statement admitting what you did. Don't hide behind a “we were just thinking about it” response.
- Apologize for the error, without trying to “spin it”. You might refer to this posting on Hyatt's blog. It explains what a real apology should look like.
- Remove all references to Platform from your sites and events. Remove any and all visual elements that are in any way similar to Michael Hyatt's.
- If you really want to turn this stinker into a winner, you will take one more step: invite (and pay) Michael Hyatt to speak at your convention, and seek his guidance on how you might move forward.
This may seem radical and perhaps even humiliating to you, NSA. But I assure you, it is the best way to redeem this situation, which may otherwise permanently damage your organization. If you choose to do what most organizations do when they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and “spin doctor” this, that will backfire on you.
You have an opportunity to either resurrect your dying organization, or you can pound the last few nails into its coffin. The choice is yours.
I urge you to do the right thing.