Brand Protection: The Bigger you are, the Greater the Threats

Don't look now, but you're being watched. By lots of folks. It isn't only your target audience watching your ads and seeing what you are up to.

There are lots of others watching over your brand. Watching your traffic, tracking your events, monitoring the media for a new product launch. These folks are no friends of your brand and their watchful eyes are watching over your brand as well as internationally marketed sporting events broadcasting to the millions.

Let's take an internationally recognized event, such as the Super Bowl. The main threat for companies at the Super Bowl is the threat and misuse of their brand. Assets such as trademarks, images and products are targeted for the rampant illegal use of those brands, especially without a plan in place for protecting them. From the streets of NYC to outside the stadium's gargantuan parking lot, unauthorized vendors of counterfeit NFL merchandise sell hats, t-shirts and other products that have team logos or NFL logos on these products. The sale of illegal branded materials has grown astronomically over the past few years. All these unauthorized products has grown with advances in technology.

The internet provides criminals with platforms that are necessary to take these branded images and official logos and replicate them. This underscores the need for legitimate brands producing these goods to implement advanced techniques, which allow them to identify counterfeiters, monitor the channels in which they are traded and pinpointing the source of these goods. Working with federal and local authorities, brands can ensure that any illegal activities can be controlled. Constant and efficient monitoring of brands can prove to give companies the feeling and peace of mind that full protection is in place for their brand.

Bigger than the Super Bowl

While counterfeiting is a big issue for brands involved with the Super Bowl, it pales in comparison to the concerns companies have when involved with the World Cup. With the World Cup happening every 4 years, companies have much time to position themselves and introduce their own line of products and services. With that, as the World Cup gets closer, they host mammoth events, parties and shows. Brands must undergo intense planning for this month long International event. This is the ultimate time for brands to be attacked, making them ripe for the damage their brand can incur on the world stage.

With the global market always expanding, brands need to do all in their power to protect their brand to avoid any negative actions by cyber criminals to tarnish their brand's integrity. A brand that is negatively impacted may take a long time to recover, if at all. No matter if the market is a domestic or international one, brands need to consider the dangers they face from all angles as well as have a game plan in place to respond to the dangers their brands face.

eBay Alerts its Customers

Before last year's World Cup Match in Brazil, online auction giant, eBay alerted their customers to the sale of counterfeit Adidas soccer balls on the site. The alert said that the illegal sale of this particular item was unprecedented on eBay and buyers should beware, alerting them that even sellers with great feedback could be selling fake goods, sometimes unknowingly.

You see, buyers on sites such as eBay do not always know what they are getting. The low prices of such counterfeit items is usually too low to impose any legal action on the sellers. With all the counterfeits on mostly trusted sites like Amazon, Alibaba and eBay, I give a hats off to them for identifying and removing counterfeit items from their sites and alerting buyers. This is something that takes a lot of time and resources, with these sites sometimes hiring lots of staff to monitor. However, online counterfeiting is still thriving and due to the anonymity of the internet and it's split second reach, it is and will be a challenge for some time to come.