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Protecting your brand online is becoming increasingly difficult and a protection strategy is a necessity in the digital age, says Tosshan Ramgolam of Incopro.
Brands go to a lot of effort and expense in building luxury products. The Rolls Royce Sweptail took four years to build and, at $12.8 million, was the most expensive car ever made at the time.
Although this might be an extreme example—only one was ever produced—the car acts as an example of the sheer investment and workmanship that goes into building products and brands.
It’s important that a brand’s reputation reflects this dedication to quality and value to its consumers. But the bigger the brand, the more there is to lose, and the success of legitimate luxury brands makes their names and products a target for illegal counterfeiters looking to profit off the back of them.
As the digital world evolves, the challenge of protecting brands online is getting more difficult. Online threats are emerging faster than they can be found and taken down. Social media, search engines, domain names and brand hijacking are just some of the new challenges facing brands in the digital age.
One of the most important aspects in staying competitive and growing brands is to protect assets online, but recent trends indicate that this is becoming increasingly difficult.
“Brands that integrate an intelligent online brand protection strategy can expect to experience a safer, more profitable e-commerce experience.”
A US General Accounting Office (GAO) report (released in February 2018) showed the damage to brands when counterfeit goods were sold on websites alongside authentic products. According to the research, 43% of GAO-purchased items (trainers, travel mugs, cosmetics and electricals) from third-party sellers on popular online marketplaces were found to be counterfeit.
The International Trademark Association’s five-year counterfeit and piracy forecast projected growth in counterfeit goods to $4.2 trillion by 2022, saying that “measures to fight counterfeiting have not been sufficient”.
As a result, easily available fake goods are destroying brand reputation and consumer trust. Years of hard work is being undone and undermined in a single instance.
Intelligent brand protection
If you offer a range of products or services online, your need for an online brand protection strategy has never been greater.
Strategies that use artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are able to continuously monitor for counterfeits across digital platforms and marketplaces to scrub the internet of unauthorised sellers and potentially harmful fake products.
The real benefit of this technology is when it’s used alongside dedicated analysts and legal experts to guide brands through the enforcement process. Online brand protection software is often a collaborative tool, with options for brand owners, legal counsel or investigators to draft and review accurate infringement notices within just a few seconds.
Because of the hundreds or thousands of infringements that might be hosted on marketplaces or fake websites, automation has become a major player in this field. Manual intervention is still needed in some more serious cases, but reducing the time spent looking for fakes has helped significantly increase the speed to which they are found and removed.
Global brands are starting to realise that online brand protection software is no longer an option but a necessity in the digital age, helped by more brands realising the return on investment of brand protection strategies.
An October 2018 quantitative study into the effects of a brand protection strategy by Oxera, an independent economics consultancy, reported a direct correlation between enforcement action and sales, with legitimate brand sales increasing within just one to two weeks.
The study found that for every infringing social media account taken down, brands witnessed approximately 0.7 to 0.8 additional sales—a significant amount in additional revenue.
Brands that integrate an intelligent online brand protection strategy can expect to experience a safer, more profitable e-commerce experience. But brands won’t realise this unless they have an enforcement strategy backing them up.
If a reseller advertises your products online for an amount less than you’ve approved, what do you do? If an online retailer or third-party seller represents your products in a way that violates a signed agreement, what steps will you take to stop that?
A brand protection and enforcement strategy working in sync is important, not just to stop an offending company’s violation as quickly as possible, but to help preserve your brand’s reputation and consumer trust.
Tosshan Ramgolam is a brand advisor at Incopro. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Incopro, brands, IP protection, strategy, automobile, reputation, counterfeit goods, AI, machine learning, big data, infringement, social media, retailer