There are few assets more important than your business’ identity. Your brand name and image are crucial to building reputation and trust with customers, and your perceived value is what sets you apart from your competitors.
However, as your prominence grows, so too does the opportunity for your hard-earned branding to be infringed upon. The repercussions can be enormous, so it’s important to take precautions to protect your brand name.
Read on to find out more about how to protect your brand name from online fraud.
What is branding?
Branding is anything that is associated to your business: name, logo, colours, tagline or imagery. These are often unique, and can evoke a feeling, emotion or sense of belonging to your brand – think the “Tiffany blue” or Apple’s minimalistic graphics. There’s high value in securing a business’ branding assets, with owners investing in trademarks, copyrights and patents to prevent brand abuse.
1. Claim your domain name
Domain names are essential for doing business today. A memorable domain can not only drive organic traffic to your site, but builds trust amongst potential customers. Even if your business is still in the inception phase, it’s important to secure your domain name as soon as possible. Registering your domain name with alternate extensions like .co, .org or .net can cement your online presence and prevent your brand name from being stolen. To avoid losing ownership of your domain name, turn on auto-renew so you don’t miss the expiration period.
Trademarks aren’t a legal requirement, but they do give you added protection in the event that a name and logo similar to yours is being used elsewhere. Applying for a trademark can be a complex process, so you may need the assistance of an attorney that is familar with trademark laws. Trademarks expire after a period of time, so you’ll need to register your brand again in future.
3. Build brand awareness
Your brand is yours, so use it everywhere you can to build brand authority and awareness. Ensure your social media presence is cohesive by using colours, fonts and imagery that are consistent with your brand. Ecommerce businesses may choose to use branded packaging, or bricks and mortar stores can have employees wear shirts with the company’s logo. A strong brand presence can make it difficult for your identity to replicated, so it’s worth emphasising it wherever possible.
Set up tracking and alerts to notify you of when your business name is being used on social media or other websites. Google alerts can notify you of mentions of your business name, or names that are similar to yours. This allows you to take action quickly, preventing serious harm to your brand name. It’s also important to keep track of any listings on online directories, and any reviews or comments that have been left about your brand. Fraudulent accounts may be impersonating your brand on social media, responding to comments or redirecting customers to illegal sites, so it’s imperative to protect your brand name from being stolen.
5. Take immediate action
Don’t wait for the damage to be done. Taking immediate action when you spot illegal activity can protect your brand name from further harm. This can be done by sending a cease and desist letter proving your ownership, and requesting that the fraudulent activity be stopped.
Speak to FraudWatch about how to protect your brand
Mitigate the risk of infringement upon your brand name and image. Contact FraudWatch to learn more about how to protect your brand.