It’s no secret that digital brand protection is more critical than ever in today's technological climate. Your company likely takes steps to protect your business from a physical standpoint. Installing a security system to prevent break-ins or using an in-house IT team to detect suspicious employee or partner activity are fundamental protection measures.
But what about the online realm? Today, having a solid online presence is essential for business success. However, more is required than having a website or making sure you frequently post on social media. You must also be aware that there are countless and continuous threats to your company from bad actors poised to abuse your company’s stellar reputation for their benefit.
Digital brand protection is essential for ensuring your brand stays safe from malicious online activity and remains reputable.
In this blog post, we'll explore what digital brand protection entails, common threats to your brand, and how you can create a robust brand protection strategy in the wild world of modern commerce.
What is Digital Brand Protection?
Digital Brand Protection involves identifying, monitoring, and protecting a brand's digital presence and assets. Scouring websites, mobile applications, social media channels, and digital advertising platforms allow you to keep a pulse on brand perception and any instances of abuse. A brand protection strategy helps prevent data breaches and copyright and trademark infringement issues. Additionally, it can stop content abuse, like false reviews or feedback, which can cause brand damage or financial losses. With a practical approach in place, companies can have peace of mind knowing that their name is secure.
Common Threats to Your Digital Brand
How online criminals can target your brand is varied and multi-faceted, and there are always ingenious new scams that can put your brand at risk.
That said, a few common threats are prevalent when it comes to brand protection.
Online Brand Impersonation
Brand impersonation is one of the most common forms of online threats. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), brand impersonation attacks or scams have grown 85% over the years and are routinely costing US businesses billions of dollars in losses.
The most common form of brand impersonation is for a scammer to utilize a spoof domain almost identical to your brand's legitimate website or social media channels. Ultimately, the spoof domain leads consumers to a different site altogether. For example, there are more than 210 known spoof domains for technology giant Apple, which include URLs like apple-accountservice.com or iPhone-applen.com. (Note the "n" typo at the end of iphone-applen.com.) By adding a dash or making a minute change like a small typo, browsers may type in the wrong address and be subject to phishing scams, potentially hurting Apple's reputation.
If your company creates quality products or trustworthy services, you are at a high risk of counterfeiting. In this scam, criminals simply duplicate the details of your products, selling them cheaper and outside of authorized distribution channels. Counterfeiting costs your company money in sales, but it also hurts your reputation as the products are often sub-standard.
Cybersquatting and Trademark Squatting
The fundamentals of your business – like your logo, trademark, and company name – are also at risk. For example, in cybersquatting, a malicious party can claim domain names related to your business for destructive purposes or to sell them back to you at a heightened cost. A similar concept occurs in trademark squatting, where bad actors register trademarks of legitimate brands and then force the company to buy the trademark from them.
The Big Picture…
Remember that the above list is just the tip of the iceberg. All aspects of your online presence – from your Google My Business details to your social media channels to your email marketing campaigns – are fair game for brand abuse. The more your company grows in its success and online presence, the more it becomes a valuable target for threat actors who want to take advantage of your solid reputation.
A Comprehensive Digital Brand Strategy Can Protect Your Company
The good news? A few simple steps can go a long way in protecting your brand and financial picture.
Register all Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents
Ensure that all the foundational elements of your brand are registered as soon as possible, which includes details like your company name, logo, and other features that identify your company. (In the US, register your brand and all accompanying information with the US Patent and Trademark Office.)
Review and Claim Your Digital Real Estate
The first step is to register any domain name(s) you choose, such as YourCompany.com. You'll also want to register a range of top-level and similar domains, such as YourCompany.net, YourCompany.us, or YourCompany.biz, to add a further barrier of protection against brand impersonation.
In addition, you’ll also want to create and claim brand accounts on all social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and monitor these channels regularly to look for any bogus duplicate accounts.
Protect Your Partnerships
As your business grows, you'll likely form partnerships that help to promote and sell your products and services. Make sure these connections are secure by using a comprehensive non-disclosure agreement to protect your patent-protected processes, designs, products, and confidential company information your partners may access.
Enlist an Expert
You may have an exceptional in-house security and IT team in place. Still, regarding digital protection, you need 24/7 monitoring and the most modern and technology-advanced resources available to safeguard your company and reputation.
For this kind of comprehensive security strategy, LifeRaft comes into play. At LifeRaft, our Navigator platform has a variety of applications, including digital brand protection. Navigator provides early detection of a range of issues that can put your brand at risk by continually scouring the deep corners of the internet, such as social media channels, message boards, forums, classifieds, and deep and dark web sources.
The Bottom Line on Digital Brand Protection
With the right strategy, you can protect your digital brand from brand abuse and ensure its long-term integrity. Contact us today, and let's work together to ensure that your company remains the trusted and established name it is for years to come.