When Michael Litt and Devon Galloway met at the University of Waterloo in 2005, online video-hosting and sharing platforms were in their infancy. Five years later, these engineering graduates built the company that became Vidyard. Today, Vidyard is a leading Canadian innovator in online video hosting and analytics, offering vital tools to a professional world turned digital by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Vidyard empowers customers with innovative video technology, it is its understanding of the value of intellectual property (IP) assets and strategic actions that allowed the company to protect its identity and build on its reputation.
Launching a new video platform
Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing at Vidyard, is confident that the platform's distinctive features will lead to sustainable growth. Initially, Vidyard's founders saw free platforms like YouTube as their biggest barrier to success as many businesses used YouTube to capitalize on the video medium. However, it soon became clear that YouTube was not built for the strategic use of video within businesses. What other platforms lacked, Vidyard could provide.
Vidyard offers not only powerful video tools, but also the expertise to use them. "Vidyard is an educator," Lessard says. Through a wide range of educational videos, blogs, podcasts and more, Vidyard "inspires businesses to push their boundaries on what's possible with video." Additionally, the company cultivates a vast global network of partnerships with software giants like Salesforce, Adobe, and Outreach.
"Over 30 third-party tools have embedded the platform's functionality into their products," Lessard notes. These connections allow customers to use Vidyard alongside more familiar software. Unlike its competitors, this platform also provides advanced analytics tools that equip companies to increase video engagement by developing informed strategies.
Building a brand
"At Vidyard, we've always prided ourselves on being different," recounts Lessard. The company founders wanted a brand that reflected their passion for connecting and inspiring people. That's where V-Bot, their green robot mascot, comes in. V-Bot is "a 'living' symbol of the qualities we believe in," Lessard explains, "unmatched power and knowledge, combined with friendliness and human connection." Registered trademarks protect V-Bot's design, along with the platform's name and logo.
At Vidyard, IP integrity matters. "You can find yourself in a lot of trouble by using another party's IP," warns Jonathan Dunlop, Vidyard's General Counsel. He encourages entrepreneurs to develop IP literacy. "Using the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's databases to run keywords or scheduling a consultation with an IP lawyer or patent agent are easy ways to ensure you are protected and understand the lay of the land," he explains. "These things can burn you, and it is much easier to pivot early on rather than rebrand down the line."
Dunlop says that Vidyard uses its IP portfolio defensively, as "a shield rather than a sword." Trademarks form the root of this strategy. "Not everyone plays by the same rules, and IP is one tool you can use to protect yourself," he explains. As Vidyard continues to grow, so does the importance of IP to the company.