Protect Your Brand with Online Brand Protection: What To Look Out For
As a brand marketer you face numerous challenges to promote and protect your brand. The threats to your brand's digital presence are mounting with each passing day. With those threats is the highly probable damage to your reputation and most importantly, your brand's bottom line.
In this post, I will discuss just a few of the primary things you need to look out for when researching an online brand protection solution.
With the sale of counterfeit goods moving from the real world to the virtual one, this development poses a great risk to brands as online shopping numbers are exploding, with buyers heading to online shops for deals on everything from baby shoes to professional photography equipment. The tsunami-like effect is even stronger now with the unprecedented release of over 1400 new gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains) such as .sale and .shop. What's to stop a cyber thief from using yourbrandname.sale? There isn't much unless you are constantly monitoring the web and being proactive.
PPC ads are used heavily in the Social Media arena. Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are filled with them. PPC ads are filled with keywords and many of them try to divert traffic to their sites by using your branded keywords.
You need to monitor the PPC ads of not only your competition and investigate the keywords they use to direct traffic to their sites, but you need to be monitoring PPC ads of those counterfeiters who are using your trademarked keywords to direct consumers to their bogus sites, in their bid to sell counterfeits of your brand on their websites. This will just cause your brand reputation damage by selling inferior products to consumers thinking they are legitimate and stealing from your bottom line.
Also known as Cybersquatting, this refers to when a cyberthief uses your brand name with an extension that you did not register as your own. With all the new gTLDs being released, this will only become more of a problem. It is nearly impossible and quite expensive to register your domain with every available extension. You need to monitor for violations of your domain name and prevent others from hijacking your brand. Additionally, cyber thieves can hold yourbrandname.net or .org or .biz, etc. for ransom and not release it to you till you pay them a heavy fee.
Using this type of cybersquatting tactic, cyber criminals can cause damage to your brand by registering misspelled domain names. Say, you own the trademarked domain of Hasbro.com, someone looking to take advantage can register Hazbro.com and drive traffic to their professionally designed site, sometimes with pictures of your products. The site owner could be sitting in Bangladesh or some other far off land. This is extremely hard to protect against and it is nearly impossible to enforce action against the violating party. By the time you catch it, Hazbro.com could have sold thousands of dollars of inferior copies of your products. The consumers think they are actually buying a legitimate product, but when they buy it, and the color fades or the wheels fall off after a few days, not knowing they bought a counterfeit product, they will hold a very poor perception of your company.
While each brand can face their own unique combination of threats, the main message is threats are threats and they can cause your brand damage, both reputation wise and from a financial perspective.
Sure, you can go hire staff who can monitor the web with a bunch of disconnected tools such as Google Alerts. This isn't recommended. You need to implement a round-the-clock brand protection solution that is most fitting for your brand and the threats that are most commonly used against it.
It is only in this fashion that as a brand marketer, you will be able to effectively protect your brand.