The evolution of the Internet and online marketplaces has offered companies important opportunities, but at the same time, it has exposed them to numerous risks and dangers.
In fact, improper use of the brand by unauthorised third parties can undermine the relationship with its customers. The damage is not only reputational but also economic.
What is online brand protection?
Online brand protection is the set of initiatives aimed at preserving the online reputation and image of a company, its brands, products, and employees from risks and dangers.
Some of the most common risks that companies face online are:
- Fraudulent websites and online scams,
- Phishing attacks,
- Social engineering attacks,
- Typosquatting or URLS hijacking,
- Cybersquatting or domain squatting,
- Online piracy, trademark infringement and intellectual property infringement,
- Defamation and online reputation attacks.
Here a few examples of online brand infringement:
- A company finds a fake website selling counterfeit products with its brand.
- An online scammer is using the company's name and logo to commit fraud.
- Someone is typosquatting on the company's domain, hoping to get traffic from users who make mistakes when typing the brand’s URL.
- A cybersquatter is using a domain similar to the company’s, with the intent of selling it to the company at an inflated price.
- The company's accounts on social media platforms have been hacked and are being used to spread spam or defame the company.
- An online pirate is selling pirated copies of the company's software on their website.
- Someone is using the company's trademark in a way that confuses customers or damages the company's reputation.
What are the consequences of online brand infringement?
The consequences of online brand infringement can be divided into three main types: reputational, financial, and legal.
- Reputational damage.
If customers are deceived or scammed by an online impersonator, they could develop a negative opinion of the company, even if it is not at fault.
- Financial damage.
If counterfeit products are sold online using a company's name and logo, the company could lose sales. Similarly, if a cybersquatter registers a domain similar to the company's, the company may have to pay an inflated price to buy it back.
- Legal consequences.
For example, if someone uses the company's name and logo to commit fraud, the company could be held liable for damages.
What are some online brand protection strategies?
Every online brand protection strategy must be designed taking into account the peculiarities of the sector in which the company operates and its business objectives. In any case, online brand protection must always start with an in-depth analysis of the risks to which the company is exposed online. Only by knowing the risks can you take action to protect yourself from them.
There are many online brand protection strategies that you can use to protect your company’s online reputation and image. Some of the most common strategies include:
Registering domain names and social media accounts
One of the best ways to protect your online presence is to register domain names and social media accounts in your company's name. This will prevent others from registering them and using them for malicious purposes.
Monitoring online activity
Another important online brand protection strategy is to monitor online activity for signs of online brand infringement. This can be done using online brand monitoring tools, which can help you track anything about your business that is online and and flag any instances of online brand infringement. Since they are based on AI and machine learning technologies, they are able to quickly analyze a huge amount of data. For example, they are also able to find images of your brand and products online, to monitor domain name and much more.
Giving customers safe channels
For example, you can develop a mobile app that allows them to communicate directly with you and to buy your products in total safety.
Online Reputation Management
It is the process of monitoring and managing online content about your company. For example, it includes creating and sharing positive content about your company, monitoring negative content, comments and reviews, and responding to these negative content.
You can help your customers avoid fraud by offering them tools for tracking products and verifying their authenticity. You can add a digital ID to product labels using an NFC tag or QR code which if secured by software such as that provided by Certilogo can allow the consumer to check the authenticity of a product in seconds using only their smartphone.
Of course, the most effective online brand protection strategies make use of a combination of different tools and approaches.