Dean Washington: Physical Commodities Broker

Leveraging global contacts accumulated during 20 years of legal practice experience, Dean Washington entered the physical commodities brokerage industry in 2009.  As industry insiders are well aware, successful physical commodities brokering is reliant upon the depth and strength of contacts, the cultivation of an active, knowledgeable partner base, accumulation of product expertise, continuous tracking of industry trends, and negotiation of agreements benefitting both buyers and sellers.

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Branding Yourself: Don’t Be a Cliché

“The camera sees everything.”

“The camera is unforgiving.”

“Fame is fleeting.”

“He had his fifteen minutes of fame.”

“She’s yesterday’s news.”

No doubt, most of us have grown up with, or are at least familiar with, these clichés.  As phrases in the English language, clichés become clichés because nothing new underpins them; there is nothing innovative, nothing to capture one’s imagination, nothing to create excitement and sales.  It’s the same old, same old.  Unfortunately, in this society, people as well as phrases can and do become clichés.  Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the entertainment and sports industries.

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Negotiations: A Major Benefit of Working with a Licensing Agency

It’s human nature to want to avoid conflict.  However, conflict is not always unavoidable.  Having been fortunate enough, or perhaps hardheaded enough, to have gained success in the performing arts, I came to view contract negotiations as conflict — because, quite frankly, they were.  I fought for every victory; the record label fought back, wanting the biggest piece of the pie in order to protect its own interests.  Every victory, in essence, was a compromise.  And every compromise took something out of me, something indefinable and yet, quite real.

Finally, I learned not so much to stop fighting, but to conscript a small and very dedicated army into my cause.

That army was a licensing agency; an agency that I hired when I decided to create a brand for myself by entering into negotiations with a manufacturer of a line of cosmetics bearing my name and likeness.

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Product Marketing Strategies: The Limitations of Mass Marketing and Benefits of Market Segmentation

It is widely understood that mass marketing, although advantageous to businesses by virtue of lower production and marketing costs, does not completely fulfill the needs of every customer in a market.  Nonetheless, many companies still employ this strategy.  And, it is particularly effective in the marketing of standardized goods and services – such as sugar, gasoline, or dry cleaning services – for which large numbers of people have similar needs and perceive the product or service as largely the same regardless of the provider.  In such cases, all things being equal, consumer buying decisions are usually motivated primarily by price.

Some producers of mass market goods employ a marketing strategy known as product differentiation to make their offering seem distinct from that of competitors, even though the products are largely the same.  One example might be that of a golf shirt manufacturer.  To distinguish its shirts from other products of similar material and quality, the producer might embroider its brand name on its shirts and sell them only through upscale department or specialty stores as a form of product differentiation.  Consumers might tend to perceive these shirts as somehow better than other brands, and thus worthy of a premium price.  But, changing consumer perceptions in this way can be very expensive in terms of promotion and packaging.  A product differentiation strategy is most likely to be effective when consumers care about the product and there are identifiable differences between brands.

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Retail Marketing: Target Marketing Improves Return on Investment

Historically, retailers have taken one of two approaches in marketing their products – frequently described analogously as the rifle or the shotgun.  Today, these approaches are still employed; albeit, under the titles targeted marketing or mass marketing.

With the advent of the various forms of new media, the tools for new, more meaningful means of targeted marketing are now in place, and retailers – who have often struggled with their abilities to achieve one-to-one marketing communications with customers and prospects – are now armed with resources enabling them to achieve these once elusive goals.

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Developing Your Licensed Brand


The old adage “you have to make hay while the sun shines” has never been truer at any time in history than today.  Living in a culture dominated by the 24-hour cable news cycle, the public has a dramatically diminished collective attention span.  The “news” becomes “old” at any increasingly rapid rate.  And, as a result, the nature of fame or celebrity is fleeting.

Should you find yourself in the public eye because of your achievement in the arts, entertainment, or athletics, your opportunity to “cash in” on your celebrity is brief.  To do so, you must effectively market your personal brand.  But, how?

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Mass Marketing Defined

Mass marketing is an attempt to appeal to an entire market with one basic marketing strategy utilizing mass distribution and mass media. Also called undifferentiated marketing, it maximizes product advertising to consumers.  Unlike niche marketing, that targets markets and audiences via research and analytical techniques, mass marketing advertises products to a large audience.

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Retailers: Know Your Competition!

Whether you are new retailer or have operated your business for many years, your level of success may be determined in large measure by the quality and execution of your business plan.  And, in developing or updating your business plan, analyzing your competition should be a significant consideration.

You should, of course, know your products and/or services.  But, how well do you know your customers and competition?  And, how do you collect the information required to make those critical assessments?  Much like the instrumentation used by a pilot, your assessments of customer requirements and competitive influences will help you to navigate your business environment.  These determinations will enable you to optimize your marketing and advertising efforts, as well as develop product assortments and pricing strategies to gain a competitive edge.

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Licensing Agency, Chapter Two: The March of the Tweenies

In crafting licensing strategies that deliver the most viable profit margins, retailers must understand — and respect — demographic and underlying pyschological factors if they aspire to pluck this ripe-for-the-picking market.   Our previous article examined the conditions that created markets for the licensed products and brands of hot new music stars.  Now, we’ll take a look at the consumers buying this merchandise, and why they are buying it.

“Consumers” are usually defined in the traditional sense, as the people who toil to earn livings and carve out disposable incomes.  But this definition is just smoke and mirrors in the world of musical artist licensing.  While adults conduct the actual purchase transactions, those who actually drive purchasing decisions are the tweenies.

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Purchasing Crude Oil? Know the Sellers!

Regardless of the growth of alternative energy sources, crude oil is still the engine that powers the world.  In country’s like the U.S. that consumes more than it produces, that means that those wishing to procure supplies must identify viable sellers of this vital commodity.  In a world separated by language and culture, that is not always a simple process.  For that reason, physical commodities brokers are often utilized to match buyers with sellers and expedite commodities transfers.

Sellers of crude oil can be found in oil producing countries including Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and Angola, to name just a few.  To buy this commodity, however, you need to find a seller.  The experienced broker in crude oil can assist a qualified buyer in negotiating and consummating transactions with three distinct types of sellers:  state sellers, private sellers, and independent sellers.

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Mass Marketing in a Multi-Media Age: The KOllar Guard™ Case Study

For the mass marketer, today’s complex, well-informed, market savvy consumer presents a far greater challenge than the consumer of even just a few years ago.  When coupled with the growth of media channels – broadcast, print, and new, the choices facing mass marketers can be dizzying.

To navigate these often uncharted waters requires a captain with a solid knowledge base in consumer behavior and the fundamentals of traditional and new media as well as the established relationships required to execute marketing plans employing a convergence of media to optimize market exposure.  Dean Washington’s background in the industry is a case in point.

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