10 Keys for the protection of brands in the face of the new challenges of the digital era

This year has started with many changes in the digital environment. They offer business opportunities that must be exploited but also involve new risks for brands. The proliferation of digital content, the unstoppable growth of social networks as marketing tools or dot-domains are some of the new challenges that arise. The brand protection strategy must take into account the changing scenario and adapt to it so as not to take risks and avoid the possibility of falling into the hands of third parties.

1. Protect digital content. The proliferation of mobile devices increasingly fuels the consumption of digital content and, as a consequence, the risk for brands in almost all business categories increases. All brands have digital content but, for some of them, these are their own essence. As the digitization of content increases, it is essential that companies have a good strategy for their protection.

2. Monitor traffic. The amount of abuse that a brand can suffer through the network is overwhelming. A simple and effective way to set priorities to counterattack is to observe the traffic volume of the infringing web pages. Concentrating on those sites that register the highest volume of traffic is a fundamental strategy to maximize the impact of your efforts.

3. Measure the ROI. On the Internet, by its very nature, everything is measurable and brands must measure the success of their brand protection strategies. Brand protection programs often conflict with other internal investments, so it is important to know how to evaluate the financial impact of the actions that are undertaken. In addition, it is interesting to record and account for important performance indicators such as deletion of listings, recovered traffic, deleted domains and the level of general compliance.

4. Prepare to review new gTLD applications. 2012 marks the beginning of significant changes in the Internet with the emergence of new gTLDs or dot-brand domains. Regardless of whether a company intends to apply for a proprietary gTLD, it must be prepared to consult all requests made when they are posted on the ICANN page. The brands will have seven months to submit any objection to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

5. Rationalize the domain portfolio. With the emergence of hundreds of new gTLD extensions, now more than ever, companies must thoroughly review their defensive positions and ask themselves if they really need all their records. The most important factor to keep in mind when deciding whether to keep or leave a registry is traffic. Knowing how much traffic generates preventive records is essential to streamline our portfolio, so we can add domains where necessary or abandon them when they have little or no activity.

6. Monitor affiliates and online distributors. Online affiliates and distributors are productive partners that increase brand exposure and help drive sales, but all affiliate or channel programs must be monitored to prevent fraud. Some associates may be tempted to bid against the brands through the most productive keywords, diverting high value traffic that will lead to the payment of unnecessary commissions. Brands must clearly state their online advertising policy, monitor their breach and deal with any misuse.

7. Scale coercive measures to obtain profitable results. There is no magic formula to eliminate infringing sites or illegal content. The best way to deal with online abuse is to superimpose coercive measures, starting with low cost and low interaction options, and then escalate options that require more resources depending on the problem. The objective is to achieve the maximum impact with the most reasonable cost possible.

8. Monitor social media, because they do not stop growing. The number of social networks and blogs continues to increase, as does the time that Internet users invest in them. That’s why it’s not surprising that the abuse of brands in social media also grows, especially in the section of brand usurpation, which is known as “namesquatting”. Therefore, it is vital that brands protect their identity in these sites and continue to monitor and act on illegal content and suspicious links.

9. Involve the entire company. Brand abuse is not a legal issue or IT, but a business problem of the first order. Its impact is felt throughout the organization: from the diversion of revenues and the decrease in marketing ROI to the increase in customer service costs. Care must be taken to involve all departments that play an important role in the health of the brand, such as eCommerce, marketing, channel management, customer service and corporate security.

10. Take advantage of third-party brand protection experience. Since Brand Protection is an incipient practice in the digital environment, it is not surprising that large global brands lack the necessary specific resources internally. The most advanced brands take advantage of the experience and resources of third parties to develop and execute the most appropriate brand protection strategy for your organization.

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