Online brand protection is the umbrella term for the combination of strategies, activities, and measures businesses must take to safeguard their brand's reputation, intellectual property, and customer base in the digital environment.
Protecting a brand online involves actively monitoring and enforcing all your brand assets and other brand-related content online to prevent other people from using, infringing, or counterfeiting any aspect of your brand without your permission.
WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR BRANDS ONLINE?
Taking extra steps to protect your brands online may look like another job to add to what will already be a long list. However, from a commercial, financial, and reputational perspective, it is absolutely crucial.
Firstly, you need to secure your brand’s reputation. You have worked hard to build your reputation. However, as the internet offers anyone the vehicle to create and distribute their own content, their efforts could well involve the misuse of your brand assets or the distribution and sale of counterfeit versions of your products. Unfortunately, flooding the market with poor quality or even - in the case of pharmaceutical and food and drink products - dangerous versions of your products will destroy your reputation in a fraction of the time it took to build it.
By taking positive anti-counterfeiting measures, you can identify and combat counterfeiters, protect your customers, and preserve the quality and legitimacy of your products. Being seen to act will also strengthen your customer’s trust in your brands. It demonstrates just how seriously you take their loyalty and the lengths you are prepared to go to ensure your customers always receive the quality they deserve.
Aside from the reputational damage counterfeit goods and false information can create, you also have a huge financial risk to mitigate.
Brand abuse, counterfeiting, and reputational damage will have an enormous financial impact on a brand owner. The sale of counterfeit products will impact your own sales revenues. It could force your valued customers into the arms of your competitors which will have additional long-term financial implications. It could even lead to lengthy and expensive legal battles.
These legal battles could also have a compliance aspect. Marketing, advertising, and selling your products requires you to observe the legal and compliance guidelines imposed in the different markets you trade in. If you fall foul of these, you could find you are prohibited to sell in these markets and face financial penalties and legal action, not to mention negative press even though the products in question were not actually produced by you.
Taking positive steps to protect your brand/s online will help mitigate all these risks and allow you to act swiftly and decisively if you see others misusing your brand or misleading your customer base.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR BRANDS ONLINE?
As so much of our lives and our shopping is now online, protecting brands online is no easy feat. You never know where the next threat will arise so, to cover all bases, you need to ensure you have a continual cycle of different activities working for you at all times. These activities include:
1. Trade mark monitoring
Monitoring the search engines, social media, and relevant e-commerce platforms will help you to identify infringements and other unauthorised uses of your trade marks, logos, and brand names.
2. Intellectual property enforcement
You need to take swift legal action against anyone who infringes your trade marks or any other IP rights associated with your brand.
3. Domain name monitoring
Monitoring domain name registrations will help you identify any domain names that could infringe your brand or mislead your customers so you can take the appropriate infringement action.
4. Online content monitoring
Online content monitoring will help you identify counterfeit product listings, unauthorised sales platforms, and misleading/misdirecting advertisements that could damage your brand or deceive your customers.
5. Social media monitoring
Monitoring social media platforms for any mentions of your brand will help you identify unauthorised sales channels.
The results your online brand protection efforts generate can also be used to educate your customers about potential risks, a simple gesture that will generate boundless goodwill as it will underline your commitment to protecting your customers.
iProvidence is Potter Clarkson’s own online brand protection service. It provides an all-seeing eye over the internet and finds and filters any potential infringements or risks to your brand so we can take the required enforcement action immediately.
If you would like to trial iProvidence to see first-hand how it will help make protecting your brands online easier and more effective, please contact us today.