Without online brand protection, a business risks undermining its invested resources in creating a brand identity overnight.
Any successful business with a loyal customer base and a strong reputation knows this.
The question is: Do you want to provide brands with proactive brand protection solutions and save time along the way?
If the answer’s yes, this article has you covered.
Keep reading to discover how online brand protection and its software can help you detect and address brand infringement.
1. What is Online Brand Protection?
Online brand protection is, in the plainest terms possible, a defensive strategy. It uses advanced technologies to track, identify, and stop unauthorized use of a brand’s name, logo, and messaging online.
Now, we all know how easy it is nowadays to copy a brand. So, this strategy is a must for anyone who wants to defend a brand’s reputation and protect their customers from malicious intent.
So, how does this process work?
Well, there’s no better way to explain it than to paint a familiar picture for each of us:
Think back to when you landed on some fake websites or ran into fake social media accounts impersonating a familiar person or a brand. It must’ve happened at least once.
Now, imagine if you had a quick and easy way to:
- Catch brand infringement online,
- Remove and report infringing content,
- Send takedown requests, and
- File legal complaints.
Luckily, you don't have to rely on your imagination. Online brand protection and online brand protection software enable you to do this.
Best of all, these two combined give you the power to avoid irreversible financial losses and reduce the risk of losing customer trust due to online brand impersonation.
Sounds good? Cool, let’s move on then.
2. Online Brand Protection Software
What kind of people would we be if we mentioned online brand protection software without digging deeper into all the things it can do for you?
So, we’ve already mentioned that online brand protection software can help businesses protect their brand identity, reputation, and intellectual property from a variety of abuses.
But, identifying and flagging spoof websites and social media profiles is only a small part of what this kind of software is capable of doing.
For example, it can also help you identify, prioritize, and help resolve:
- Counterfeit products imitating or infringing a brand’s trademark, logo, design, or quality standard.
- Fake mobile apps or domains impersonating or misusing the brand’s name, image, or messaging.
- Negative comments, false reviews, or feedback that are damaging to the brand’s reputation or customer satisfaction.
- Legal infringements of the brand’s intellectual property rights or contractual agreements.
And if that isn’t enough, check this out:
Reputeo, an application powered by AI, specializes in providing brand reputation services for IP offices. It not only scours the web for brand reputation threats and abuses but also provides businesses with the necessary information to take legal action against the infringers.
These capabilities are indispensable for IP lawyers looking to implement a proactive monitoring strategy in defending their clients within the digital domain.
3. Top 5 Online Brand Protection Strategies
Are you looking for a streamlined brand protection process that allows you to focus on more strategic aspects of your practice?
If the answer is yes, we’ve got you!
Take a look at our top 5 tips for an online brand protection strategy, specifically tailored for proactive businesses. We're certain they’ll be effective in helping you detect, prevent, and combat online brand abuse.
1. Register trademarks and domains
Let’s be honest here: If a brand fails to register its name, logo, slogan, and other distinctive elements, there’s no point in tracking their infringement, is there?
Legally speaking, you can’t fight the infringement of unprotected intellectual property.
So, to have the power to prevent others from using or registering the brand’s distinctive elements (that is unless the brand agrees to it), you need to do what?
You got it.
You need to register the brand’s trademarks (and domains with a trusted registrar) in all the relevant markets and jurisdictions where you intend to operate.
This way, you’ll have a legal basis to take action against infringers.
2. Track online channels and reputation
Wanna know the second best way to protect a brand online?
It is – drumrolls, please - to keep track of a brand’s online presence and performance across all the digital platforms and channels it uses for exposure.
An online brand protection software that uses cutting-edge technological tools (e.g., machine learning) to help you identify any damaging actions directed toward a brand, such as online impersonations and misuses.
Use it wisely to gain visibility into the brand’s online health and risks. And, more importantly, use it to take timely and appropriate action to resolve any issues that may arise.
3. Enforce brand rights and policies
So, you’ve identified unauthorized or malicious activity that violates your brand or its IP.
In a nutshell, now you take steps to enforce your brand’s rights.
This includes sending a takedown notice to the infringing party or filing a formal legal complaint (in case they refuse to remove the infringing content).
However, approaching this issue solely externally is insufficient; a brand also needs to take a look inward.
That means communicating with customers, partners, and employees. It also means educating them about the brand policies and guidelines and encouraging them to report any suspicious or fraudulent activity involving the brand.
A collaborative approach is always best!
4. Optimize online marketing and sales
While previous strategies were more about protecting your brand from threats and abuses on the internet, this one’s more about improving your brand’s visibility and performance across digital channels.
Basically, by optimizing your online marketing and sales with the use of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC), you can reduce the chances of copycat brands misleading or confusing your customers online.
One way to do this is to use SEO and PPC to prevent competitors from bidding on your branded keywords. This way, they’ll be unable to hijack your company name or ad copy for their advertising campaigns.
Since macro- and micro-influencers are on the rise, a brand can also use influencer marketing to engage and build trust with its customers. This can help a brand differentiate itself from its competitors and copycats.
Lastly, you can use e-commerce platforms and marketplaces that verify a brand’s quality and authenticity (e.g., Shopify) to sell your products or services. These platforms are yet another great way to prevent piracy and protect your brand’s reputation.
5. Innovate and differentiate the brand
Another thing a brand can do to strengthen its identity and recognition is to gain a competitive advantage.
By constantly creating and delivering value to customers, preferably through entirely novel products and services that meet their needs.
A brand’s products and services, however, shouldn’t be the only novel thing about the brand.
Brands also need to create original content, as well as use innovative design and messaging to express their brand’s unique personality and values.
Now that’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors and copycats!
4. Importance of Online Brand Protection
Online brand protection is important to any business operating or promoting its products or services online.
For starters, online brand protection prevents a brand from being associated with low-quality or harmful products and services, which in turn maintains the brand’s reputation and credibility.
Apart from that, it also helps prevent customer churn and revenue loss due to counterfeiters, copycats, and competitors trying to infringe on the brand’s intellectual property rights.
Lastly, protecting online brand identity is useful for:
- increasing brand awareness and recognition,
- improving the brand’s ranking and exposure on search engines (e.g., Google) and social media, and
- building brand consistency across all digital touchpoints.
All this combined builds consumer trust and loyalty, as well as helps increase customer satisfaction and retention.
5. Challenges of Online Brand Protection
We did some internal and external research about some of the biggest challenges that businesses face when it comes to protecting their brands online, and here’s what we found:
· Trademark squatting: These are the instances when other parties register a brand’s name or logo without their permission. The reason for this? The brand took too long to register its trademark or neglected this step entirely, which made it unable to prevent others from using its brand rights in specific regions.
· Counterfeiting and Digital Piracy: These are the instances when loyal customers get a hold of fake goods that don’t have the same quality as the originals, and may even contain malware. These instances can significantly reduce the revenue and royalties of brand creators and owners.
· Copycatting: These instances, different from instances of piracy, include situations when other brands try to imitate or misuse a particular brand’s name or logo. For example, this could be the instance of creating a Finsta (fake Instagram) of a popular brand and then using it to mislead consumers.
· False reviews: These are the comments and feedback from seemingly dissatisfied consumers, while, in fact, they are none other than fake reviews written by competitors and other malicious actors for the sake of influencing the purchase decisions of potential customers.
· PPC ad hijacking: This is a popular technique that competitor brands use, in which they clone a brand name or bid on branded keywords to divert traffic from that particular brand.
6. Online Brand Protection Solutions
Since we mentioned the challenges of online brand protection, it would be rather pointless not to offer you some solutions too, wouldn’t it?
Firstly, you need to set some kind of monitoring for branded mentions. The tool that you use for this purpose must be capable of identifying potential threats to online brand reputation.
In other words, you need software capable of accurately identifying unauthorized use of a brand’s distinctive elements. Since we’re talking about actual trademark infringement here, this software should be designed with legal compliance in mind.
Now that you’re able to catch the brand counterfeiters and copycats, you just need to be able to take immediate action.
And that’s what our solution excels at:
Besides the timely detection of trademark misuse, Reputeo provides the necessary information on how to take against potential threats. Our approach is a collaborative one, emphasizing the importance of having professional legal assistance alongside technological solutions.
In other words, Reputeo is not designed to replace legal expertise; rather, it serves as a powerful ally for IP experts, making it faster and easier to identify, address, and mitigate online brand threats.
1. Why Is Brand Protection Necessary?
Here’s a short and straightforward answer: Because the brand is what makes money for the businesses and keeps them ahead of the game.
If you don’t protect your brand, someone else will capitalize off of it. Easy as that.
2. How Did the Digital Era Make Brand Protection Harder?
You already know this:
· Today, anyone can post a false negative review about your brand and you can’t do much about it.
· There’s tons of passing content, like snaps, stories, or live streams. If they aim to damage a brand’s reputation, this sort of malicious intent is really hard to track.
· VPN makes enforcing a brand’s rights challenging if an infringer uses it to hide their identity and location.
And these are just some of the examples of how someone can hurt a brand’s reputation online, without the brand even knowing it.
3. Are the Risks of Online Brand Infringement the Same for Small and Big Brands?
Sure they are!
Smaller brands are more vulnerable to copycats and impersonators, considering that they don’t always have the resources or expertise to monitor their brand online.
(And even less so to take legal action against the infringers.)
Big brands, on the other hand, are more attractive to counterfeits who want to cash in on a brand’s popularity.
Their biggest challenge is managing online brand protection across a huge number of markets, jurisdictions, and channels.
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