5 Essentials Of Good Brand Protection Online
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Success can often be a double-edged sword. For example, a budding musician who craves the limelight may one day realize that being famous is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Equally, businesses that create successful products often find that there are plenty of people looking to profit off their hard work.
Unless you are actively protecting your brand, someone might be waiting for the right time to waltz in with their own imitation. Of course, setting patterns aside, there is only so much that you can do to prevent someone from monetizing your intellectual property. However, when we’re talking about brand protection, we’re not thinking of someone following the same path as you, rather, it is someone trying to pass off their own shoddy products as your own.
Below are five essential steps that any business should take to protect their brand online. They do not go into great detail about technical solutions, such as using a forward proxy to protect your headquarters.
Register Your IP
Copyright laws fairly robust in most of the world are at this point. While there are still a couple of nations who seem to make a point of disregarding international copyright claims when it suits them, if you enforce your intellectual property rights then you will find that most of the world will support you. Nations have a variety of trade agreements in place. But even without these, it is almost always in the economic interests of a country to prevent its citizens from stealing the intellectual property of foreign businesses and people.
Even if you do not have faith in authorities to enforce your copyright claims, it is vital that you show people you are willing to enforce them. If people see that you are not going to pursue a case against those who infringe on your copyright, you are essentially removing the incentive for anyone else to respect your copyright.
Make Your Consumers Into Watchdogs
Any successful brand is going to be targeted by imitators and fraudsters. Wherever there is someone making money, there is someone else looking on in envy. One of your most effective tools in enforcing your own copyright and staving off imitators who want to mimic your product is going to be your fans and customers themselves.
Anyone who has handled one of the myriad fake smartphones that are on the market today will know that they are very close approximations of the real thing. However, the most die-hard fans of Apple or Samsung will be able to pick out even a very good fake from a line-up. By educating your customers on what makes your product identifiably yours, you can turn them into a legion of watchdogs.
Institute A Minimum Price Policy
When the money is rolling In and your business is making good profits, it seems logical to lower your prices in order to further increase the reach of your brand. After all, if you are still going to make a profit on the products sold then, assuming that you have already made enough money, does it really matter what price you sell your products at?
It might not make a huge amount of difference to your bottom line, but this is not the only concern when you are deciding on what price to set. Setting a minimum price across the board that you will not allow any dealer of your product to exceed will mean that any fraudsters will instantly stand out. This way, your fans know that if they see a product for sale below the usual price, it is almost certainly a fake.
Sell Through Trusted Dealers
An authorized dealer program means that only other people and businesses that you have given permission to will be able to sell your product. If a product is generally available and anyone who might be interested is able to order it and sell it, then you have absolutely no control over your supply chain. Worse still, your customers and fans will not know where they can go in order to ensure that they are getting the real deal at a reasonable price.
By making deals with authorized retailers and making it clear to your audience who these authorized retailers are, you can stop many scams involving your product dead in their tracks. Your most loyal customers will know that they either need to buy directly from you or through one of your authorized retailers. Should anyone buy an imitation of your product and subsequently be disappointed, you will be able to point to the fact that they should have gone to an authorized retailer as proof that your supply chain is secure.
Know What Your Imitators Are Doing
Staying one step ahead of the competition is always valuable in business. When it comes to heading off any potential imitators of your product, keeping an eye on what they are doing will help you to pre-empt their next move. Businesses as large and as well-resourced as Apple and Samsung have found themselves combating fraudsters who want to sell fake versions of their products. You can be certain that these businesses, and any other big business whose products are routinely forged or counterfeited, are keeping a close eye on what their imitators are doing
By keeping your ear to the ground, you can gain a sense of exactly how the fraudsters are fooling your fans. Look for the subtle details that they are mimicking and ask yourself if there’s any way you can redesign your products to make them more difficult to forge without sacrificing their functionality or driving up the price point.
Unless you take steps to protect your brand online, you can be sure that other people will take advantage of you. Don’t give anyone else the opportunity to profit from your hard work. The five steps outlined above can form a solid foundation for a comprehensive brand protection strategy.
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