Marketing your brand online is indisputable a great way to grow your audience, attract new potential customers and clients and turn leads into sales, often at low cost or even none at all. However, putting your business out on the internet also comes with a price. Because there is no global policy or mechanism to truly protect your brand, it is very easy for scammers or competitors to hijack your brand and use it for their own purpose.
It happens every day. It happens on social media, search engines, blogs, auction sites and lots of other places on the world wide web. Leads are being stolen from under your nose, traffic is being diverted to competing businesses or worse, to potentially counterfeit, grey market or illegal sales.
The consequences can be fatal for your business. Your brand will take a hit and lose its reputation, integrity and trustworthiness. Furthermore, you’re missing out on sales, your marketing budget is going to waste, and the value of your overall brand is being diminished, reducing your long-term revenue even further. Rather than waiting for it to happen and then focusing on damage control, you need to be proactive in protecting your brand online.
The following tips will help you keep your hard-earned brand equity safe, customers happy and your revenues up.
In order to prevent and respond appropriately to online brand theft, you first need to know where, when and how it is or may be happening. Detection and understanding are key. Examine possible threats and how they could potentially impact on your brand and your business in general. Listen to your audience, your customers, employers and other influencers. They will most likely stumble across brand theft or other attacks that might tarnish your business reputation and help you take action sooner rather than later.
Anticipating potential attacks and putting measures into place to minimise the risk as much as you can will keep you in control and hopefully, one step ahead of those wanting to tarnish your reputation. The more proactive you go about protecting your brand online, the more likely fraudsters and scammers will divert their attention to brands and businesses that are more vulnerable than yours.
Own your domains
When it comes to registering your domain, think outside the box and go global. Too often a simple ‘.org’ rather than ‘.com’ can lead potential customers astray to dubious websites. If you’re developing a new brand, register new domains well ahead of time to avoid others stealing them from under your nose.
Respond to threats
Ideally, you will have developed a holistic approach where detecting potential brand theft, preventing it and responding are all interlinked. The better you are at detecting and preventing, the less time, money and effort you will have to spend on responding. Having prioritized potential threats will help your legal team respond appropriately depending on the situation.
Focus on the worst, most damaging abuse, rather than responding to every single incident. After all, even the biggest brand protection budget will have its limits and not every attack on your brand will incur a damaging effect. Often a warning letter to the offender will solve the problem and save you having to pay for legal costs.
If you have been the victim of brand theft or fraud, let your customers know. Show them you care about what kind of online experience they have with your brand and that you are taking steps against fraudsters to protect your customers.
Protect your Trademark
One of the most common brand infringements is to place trademarked content in Google Ads to lure users away from the original brand. Though you can’t pro-actively protect your trademark against such practises, Google does restrict the use of trademarks if you launch an official complaint.
If you’d like to know more about how to protect your brand online, give the friendly team at Energise a call today.