Brand Protection Strategies for the Digital Age

Brand Protection
March 23, 2021
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Brand Protection Strategies for the Digital Age

You've worked hard to build your brand. You are constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance what you provide to your customers and develop new and exciting products and services. You also take your reputation seriously and would never knowingly put your customers at risk or deliver them substandard offerings. In many ways, this is a form of brand protection, as your positive attitude is helping you to create a company image that the general public can engage with.

But not everyone is as conscientious as you -- not everyone has such an ethically sound outlook. Unfortunately, counterfeiters and fraudsters do exist, and they can cause serious harm to your brand. This is why it is important to adopt sound brand protection strategies that bolster your security and keep your business safe.

What is brand protection?

For as long as there have been businesses, there have been brands. If a customer engages with the name, logo and image of a company, and associates certain values or expectations with these, then this is a brand. Of course, this brand is a valuable thing, and like any valuable thing, it needs to be protected.

On a basic level, this is a workable brand protection definition. However, in today's digital marketplace, brand protection has taken on a much more complex profile. This is because brands are more exposed, and therefore, they need to work much harder to achieve the same protection that they have enjoyed in the past.

The law is on the side of brands -- both on a domestic and an international level. However, these legal protections are not always enough to keep brands safe. To augment this protection, brands need to take matters into their own hands, making it difficult for counterfeiters and fraudsters to gain a foothold, securing profits and reputation on a long-term basis, and maintaining the safety of consumers.

Why is brand protection so important?

In today's digital age, fraudsters and counterfeiters represent serious problems for businesses and consumers alike. Both fraud and counterfeiting are illegal activities, but the relative anonymity of the digital ecosystem allows criminals to operate freely, damaging the reputations and profits of companies and putting the general public at risk.

What's more, this is a growing problem. The International Chamber of Commerce predicts that the global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy will hit US$2.3 trillion by 2022. This is a staggering figure and one that underlines how prevalent these activities are across the globe.

There are many different ways in which fraudsters operate in the digital market.

  • Fraudulent websites -- Fraudsters may create fake websites that look like the real thing, or they may claim websites linked to brand trademarks or typos of these trademarks to deceitfully gain traffic.
  • Creating fake products -- A counterfeiter may launch a fake, sub-standard version of an existing product. This harms profits and reputation and can even be damaging to the health and safety of consumers.
  • False representation -- Individuals or groups may use tricks and techniques to pass themselves off as a representative of a certain brand, and use this false representation to carry out illegal activities.
  • Ransoming data -- Hackers and cybercriminals can access systems illegally, stealing data and locking devices before demanding a ransom from the victim.

These attacks may result in serious harm for your brand, including the following:

  • Reduced customer trust -- False representation, substandard products, fake websites, and other fraudulent tactics can directly reduce public trust in your business. If customers don't feel that they can trust a business with their data, studies suggest that they are likely to abandon this business. We've learned that in our own research, via a recent survey that we ran asking people in the U.K. how they stay protected from counterfeiting. % of respondents said they would lose trust in a brand if they were to unknowingly buy a replica of one of their products, even if that brand is not at fault.
  • Loss of revenue -- If customers are buying fake versions of your products, this is a direct reduction in your revenue. If these substandard products impact your brand reputation, this revenue loss is likely to extend into the long-term.
  • Low-performance levels -- If you can't access data or key systems, or if you are spending time "fighting the fires" left behind by fraudsters, your teams cannot perform at optimal levels.

These lists represent just a few of the ways in which fraudsters target their victims, and how these actions harm brands. They are not designed to provide a comprehensive overview; instead, they are intended to demonstrate just how important a solid set of brand protection strategies is in the modern era.

Modern brand protection strategies

Smart identification strategies

Vigilance is of the utmost importance. The sooner you are able to identify a fraudulent product or service, the better, as you will be able to minimise the impact it has on your business. Deploy searches for relevant keywords so that you can assess who is selling products in your marketplace, and perform reverse image searches on your branded images to locate any unauthorised product listings.

Automated protections

Protecting yourself against fraud in the market is hard work, and the distraction and resource-diversion it causes can result in damage to your business. Brand protection software utilises automated functions -- powered by machine learning -- to assess and identify fraudulent products in the market, while cybersecurity software deploys automated protections to guard against hacking.

Registration of intellectual property

Legal protections are only effective if your brand and your intellectual property are already known to the authorities. With this in mind, registration of IP is a simple but highly recommended step in keeping your business and your brand safe online. With the proper registration in place, you will have legal recourse to bring legal action against any fraudsters.

Positive outreach into the community

Fraudsters thrive on social media. If you have a strong presence across social platforms, you will be able to spot these counterfeiters in action. You will also be able to educate your own audience so that they know what to look for when dealing with fraud. Social media platforms also provide reporting tools and other capabilities that allow you to block, ban and even prosecute these nefarious characters.

Engagement software

Positive engagement with your customers is a crucial part of any brand protection service. Your customers don't want to be duped -- they want to connect with the real deal. If you provide them with an application that allows them to check the status of a product and find out whether it is genuine or the result of counterfeiting, they will use this capability. This is one of the key benefits of deploying the engage™ app and platform within your business -- giving consumers the power to fight back against the fraudsters who put them at risk while turning these consumers into brand guardians out in the field.

Take a tour of the engage™ app and platform today

In this digital age, physical brand protection components continue to play an important role. For instance, a security hologram is instantly recognizable by end users as a high-end security element, and can boost trust in the authenticity of a product. However, the most effective brand protection strategies need to pair these physical elements with digital solutions that offer not only protection and security, but advanced marketing capabilities, as well. This is the way of the future.

To discover more about how solutions such as the engage™ app and platform can help your business, you need to give the solution a try for yourself. Get in touch and request a free, no-obligation demo of the software, and start protecting your brand the right way.

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