Protect your Brand- Mobile Apps and Social Media

With the growth of mobile apps comes the increasing threats to your brand. Yes. The necessity to protect your brand has spread from the desktop and brand websites to mobile and apps. Protecting your brand on Social Media has also become a key issue.

In this post l will discuss some tips on how you can protect your brand in the arenas of mobile apps and social media.

Today your brand is at risk in so many places that it isn't surprising that those risks have spread to mobile. Let me put things in perspective. Google serves in excess of 5.5 billion impressions on a daily basis via paid search. The use of mobile apps was up 115% in 2013, and is sure to be higher this year in 2014. This presents cyber criminals and scammers with the ability to abuse your brand via channels that weren't so relevant just a few years ago.

With many brand mobile apps replacing websites and traffic to those apps surpassing websites, brand and trademark infringement, cybercrime and counterfeit violations have never been greater. Malicious online scams targeting brands are going through their own evolution as scammers react to heightened brand protection safeguards. As a brand marketer, this gives you all the more reason to protect your brand as the threats to it grow.

Below I will go over a few tips on ways you can protect your brand from mobile app infringement.

Scan the Major App Stores
Mobile proliferation has opened the door to brand abuse. This can present your brand with risks never seen before. In order to protect your brand from such abuse, you need to monitor the app stores and perform an analysis regarding user reviews, developer data and app usage.

Analyze the Content and Characteristics of Suspected Apps
Anything you find that you may have trademarked and/or patented can potentially mean a lawsuit in your favor. Stay the course and analyze the content and the app's characteristics. The app may infringe on your intellectual property. This is something that can cause your brand reputation damage as well as steal from your bottom line.

Prioritize the Risks
Going further, you need to prioritize the potential risks that come with each infringing app that you find. After all, not all risks are created equal and some might require a budget to approach and combat in order to protect your brand.

You should consult with a legal adviser on ways you should approach violators and the ways you can enforce infringement of your brand. This way you will build a knowledge base that after a while will prove to be seamless and efficient.

Now, let's move onto Social Media. With so many social networks out there, there is an unprecedented number of places that your brand can be infringed upon and abused. For focus, let's take a look at a few of the large social networks where your brand can be abused, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

PPC ads are widely used on Social Media, especially on LinkedIn and Facebook. Many of these ads might be stuffed with your brand's keywords, branded and not. These are known as PPC violations, and online counterfeiters and scammers may be using your keywords to send those who click to their own sites offering relevant but inferior products, as well as to those of counterfeit sites. You need to monitor the keywords being used in violating PPC ads by counterfeiters as well as those of legitimate competitors.

These counterfeit sites are quite professional and can fool even the most savviest consumer. Furthermore, with all the new gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains) being introduced, there is nothing to stop these cyber thieves in sending consumers to sites, in the hope they don't suspect anything. The consumer may buy, receive the goods which are inferior, which will only lead to damage to your brand and stealing from your bottom line.

Typo-Scamming runs rampant on the Internet and those who might be looking for your brand on twitter might be taken to a twitter account that is not yours. Say, for example your brand is Gucci. An unsavvy consumer (Or a bad speller), might just Google Twitter Goochi and be lead to a twitter account of an online counterfeiter that will direct them to a counterfeit site for a special deal with a tweet.

You should monitor obvious misspellings of your brand name and see where they lead.

As you can see, the places where your brand can be abused aren't necessarily confined to the traditional avenues they once were. You can perform the above tips manually, which I personally don't recommend, because there are so many things to consider and the chances that some big brand violations will slip through the cracks. An algorithm-driven approach that works around the clock based on specific criteria is the only way to face the impending threats and enable you to protect your brand.

I would love to hear your comments, so please feel free to leave them below. Please share this post because I feel it will help other brand owners.