When you think with a business and PR mindset, everything can be branded. When you sign your brand name on something, especially across the digital landscape, you automatically take on the risks that come with brand ownership – a risk from which it is important to try to protect your business.
What is online brand protection?
Online brand protection means taking a multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach to ensuring your digital reputation and privacy remains intact. This connects to the world of Online Reputation Management (ORM) in big ways, as your brand and your reputation intertwine significantly.
Taking a proactive approach to online brand protection entails consistent and continuous monitoring of wherever your organization lives online. To combat the various degrees of threat which your brand could potentially encounter, it is important to have a dedicated team to manage activity – whether an inhouse online brand protection task force or a team of outsourced digital communications professionals. Experts like those at Percepto understand that brand maintenance is crucial.
How is a brand protected?
A brand cannot be not secured overnight, but it can be tarnished overnight. In fact, brands and brand identities can be destroyed in a matter of seconds, as a single post, comment, or data breach can happen quicker than you can think.
A more tangible and traditional online brand protection route covers issues regarding intellectual property and patents, and deals with legal and compliance issues regarding the business and the brand itself. An article from Businesswire found that approximately 265 brands were impersonated in the beginning of 2022, showing an eminent threat towards brand names. According to research conducted by Abnormal Security, the first months of 2022 have brought a 48% increase in brand threats specifically via email. Out of those attacks, 68.47% consisted of phishing.
Maintaining your passwords, conducting regular cybersecurity checks on your accounts and checking up on your online reputation, are important steps. Digitally, it is vital to maintain observations on stakeholders’ point of view and public opinion, while maintaining your online narrative and continuing work to keep control of important cyber-real estate. The landscape is ever changing and unpredictable which of course should be taken into account throughout this analysis.
Why is brand protection important?
Copycat brands often produce a subpar version of a product or service with the aim of obtaining revenue dishonestly off the back of someone else’s hard work. Not only is this ethically intolerable and a form of theft and fraud but it also has the potential to damage a brand’s reputation by producing something of lower quality in their name.
Customers, consumers and stakeholders may not be aware that they are not using the genuine product or service they were hoping for, and bad experiences could lead to negative comments on social media, forums, blogs and review sites. A presence in those spaces where you are able to engage with your target audience will mean you can dispel any myths and shine a light on any brand identity theft.
Conversely, being present will allow for a swift and efficient response to any criticism brought up across these platforms. Quotes can be put into context, issues can be explained, apologies can be made and problems can be resolved. Moreover, research from Brightlocal shows that 89% of consumers read a business’s response to criticism online – and people do not respect those who ignore criticism.
Beyond the branding: protecting yourself from threats
When it comes to branding, marketing and communications for brand, many can be swept forward with their creativity, their campaigns and their costs, forgetting to take into account every potential implication. Every tweek could have a million different reactions. Each tweak to your product will provoke a potential emotional retorts.
The team at Percepto has provided many of its clients with ORM and online brand protection services. Contingency planning and risk assessments and vital to include into your overall wider marketing and communications strategy. You can never please everyone, but you can try to predict all the potential responses and carefully plan how your brand will deal with upset and ensure your online brand protection remains solid.