Few companies in the world are as well branded as the BIC Corporation, a leading global manufacturer of pens, lighters, and consumer goods like shavers. This is product branding at its best. You know BIC’s color, orange; some of its ad slogans of years past, “Flick your BIC!”; and that odd mascot, the BIC Boy.
One of the leaders behind the company’s branding is Cheryl Chadwick, vice president and assistant general counsel for legal affairs in North America. Chadwick’s chief responsibility is to maintain BIC’s competitive advantage by protecting its patents and intellectual property.
“It’s a very fast-paced job,” she says. “We meet regularly with our clients, who are always launching new products, and we work closely with the marketing department to make sure we cover all the legal bases: trademarks, patents, contracts, and packaging issues.”
Because counterfeit products pose a real challenge to BIC, one of Chadwick’s responsibilities is to fight knock-offs. That’s why her legal expertise is so valuable.
Since the parent company is in France, Chadwick flies around the world, touching down in places in need of her guidance on patents and new product launches. “We launch new products all the time,” she says, mentioning “correction products” (Wite-Out®, Tipp-ex®) and shavers (BIC Soleil® Twilight®Shaver for Women with a lavender scented handle and a triple-blade). “In the last six years we have stepped up our new products, which requires us to be very involved in marketing and R&D.”
Chadwick, who also attended the Western New England School of Law, is currently firming up top-secret product launches for the 2008 school year. September is a busy time for the company’s stationery division, which typically introduces 10 to 15 products each year: “We’ve got different pens for different usages, and there are always new trends. Right now we’re working on emerging technologies in several product lines—it’s really exciting to see where the company’s headed.”