Companies spend countless dollars on brand management, using online marketing and a variety of other tactics to ensure that they build a strong reputation. Without proper planning, these companies can undergo serious damage from harmful brandjacking if they do not plan for the threat appropriately. Like any challenge in business, the key to combating the threat is first to identify what you are up against. Once that is established, you can fight against it with proper brand management tactics.
The Variety of Threats
Brandjacking is when an individual or a company takes on the identity of, or misrepresents, another individual or company, usually online. Brandjacking is a dangerous concept, but beyond the basic idea of having your business’s identity used by someone else, there are several risks a company must beware of. Some of these risks include:
- False Job Postings – A common way brandjacking hurts a business is when it is used in false job postings. This can also lead to a variety of other issues down the road, including a damaged reputation.
- Stolen Customers – Though it may seem difficult to accomplish, some individuals will falsely use a brand name to leech off a company’s reputation and take business. In doing so, a competitor might pretend to be affiliated with your company and take some potential new business.
- Reputation Damage – As mentioned above, this is sometimes a side-effect of other brandjacking practices and is probably its most harmful aspect, as it may cause serious and long-term damage to your brand’s reputation. If someone is out there pretending to be affiliated with you in some way and doing a poor job, it will hurt your business reputation.
These are just three factors to consider, and to avoid these and other ill effects it is important for you to take all necessary precautions.
Keep Your Brand Strong
For formal protection, there are very few measures that you can take to ensure that your brand remains safe. Initially, you want to make sure that you obtain any appropriated copyrights and trademarks. Beyond this, make sure to warn all users that any communication should come from your domain and that any interactions should occur through your website and not elsewhere. Also, be on the lookout in various social media outlets for unauthorized use of your brand.
Fortunately, with proper brand management you can go a lot further than this. Use online marketing resources to build up a reputation for your brand, keep your own strong blog presence and make sure that your official channels are optimized so as to be at the top of search engines enquiries. By doing so, you ensure that your name gets well established in the public eye, which will help protect it from unwanted theft.