The internet space via search engines, websites, e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, social media, smartphones, etc., have drastically changed how businesses are conducted and brands perceived. Most purchase decisions and purchases are made after searching & researching the brands, products, and services online.
E‑commerce or market places accounts for over 22% of global retail sales. Most customers come to your website through search engines, email, social media, mobile or online ads, rarely do they come by typing your URL directly into browser address bars.
Since online is where the customers are, the fraudsters with their fake products and services throng to the online space to sell their wares. Brand misuse is done with fully functional fake websites, emails, logos, product descriptions, etc. Everything from music, movies, holiday packages, life-saving drugs, automotive parts are fraudulently sold. Your content and imagery are used to create URLs that appear authentic to hijack your brand, wean your customers, and steal your profits.
As a consequence, brands not only lose their credibility and reputation that they have meticulously built but also lose billions of dollars due to counterfeits and brand abuse. Since many brands are still to grasp the enormity of online frauds, they do not have a comprehensive brand protection strategy for digital channels.
A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) mentions that fake goods result in over $500 billion in losses annually to legit businesses. The biggest consequence of not protecting the brand online is the loss of trust in the brand. More than 52% of customers have lost trust in a brand after being deceived by counterfeit products.
As search engines are at the epicenter of a buyer’s journey across mobile, web, and social media, it is extremely important that your brand is digitally protected and this is the most important element in your digital marketing strategy.
Needless to say, you should have a comprehensive online brand protection strategy with effective enforcement.
An effective online brand protection strategy should essentially monitor online channels; search engines, social media, marketplaces, e-commerce, and auction sites, paid search, email, etc.
When brand infringement is detected, they should be able to enforce brand rights within the framework of legal guidelines.
Specific enforcement measures might include but not limited to bringing down counterfeit and digital piracy sites, stopping the sale of unlicensed products by delisting counterfeit listings on e‑commerce marketplaces, delisting fraudulent paid search advertisements, eliminating your logo and trademark misuse or misrepresentation, identifying and terminating fake websites, fake social media accounts, taking down typo squatters, cyber squatters, and domain squatters, etc.
Building a competitive advantage with data-derived by brand protection and enforcement. You have to appreciate and understand that the fraudsters are good at identifying demand and supply gaps and capitalizing on that. They are also responsive and adaptive to market changes. By analyzing the data obtained in your fight against digital brand abuse, you can improve marketing, pricing, products, packaging, promotions, customer service, and distribution strategies of your business. They also help you identify price point gaps and opportunities in different market segments. Researching and identifying keywords that counterfeiters are using to wean away traffic from your brand is a great place to begin for your marketing team. They are a clear indication of which keywords are customers using to search for your product.
While customers use search engines for every stage of their buying journey right from the price comparison, feature comparison, product reviews to the actual purchase, brands must deliver credible & trustworthy brand experiences across digital channels.
An effective online brand protection solution helps you recapture revenue, convert potential customers to paying and loyal customers, preserve brand credibility and trust, and safeguard the long-term future of the business.
Selecting the right brand protection partner is the key. Selecting the right brand protection partner could help design an effective brand protection strategy and thus help all key stakeholders make informed decisions and produce measurable results and a compelling ROI.