“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” – Steve Forbes
A strong brand is the backbone of any successful company. It shapes and dictates everything around the business – company values, vision and direction, operation and sales processes, marketing strategies, attracting investors, hiring talent, consumer trust, public reputation, among other variables.
With so much at stake, startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses must take a proactive approach in identifying and preventing brand abuse which can potentially harm their business’ integrity, reputation, and/or sales.
Trademark registration is essential to any company’s brand protection strategy. However, there are additional measures that can be taken to safeguard your brand, especially online.
In this post we will cover the digital areas that should be carefully monitored and suggest potential tools that can help secure your brand 24/7.
1. Social Media Management
Social media platforms act as an extension of your brand.
Most businesses have at least one account on these popular channels: Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. However, there are many other social media sites on the web that you should not ignore.
Claiming Your Usernames
As a preliminary step, claiming your brand’s username early will take the user handle off the market before someone else steals them.
Knowem is a site that allows you to perform a username search on their social media search engine to see the availability of your brand name on over 500 social media sites. They can create your social profiles in bulk for a flat fee, which will save you the headache of manually creating them yourself.
Monitoring Social Channels
Once you’ve taken ownership of all relevant social media handles, the next logical step is to ensure that you have a constant pulse on conversations surrounding your brand across established and emerging social networks.
There are dozens of social media monitoring tools to choose from and selecting the right one for your business depends on the depth of your tracking needs.
Keyhole published a great article that lists the Top 25 Social Media Monitoring Tools, which provides a brief overview of each platform.
2. Domain Portfolio Management
Can you believe that there are 1500+ top-level domain extensions available for registration?
Without taking precautionary measures to prevent new domain registrations that may contain your trademark(s), your brand is left exposed to cybersquatters looking to take advantage of your business.
Brand owners may consider using the following as part of their domain protection strategy:
Validate Trademarks with the Trademark Clearinghouse
The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is a centralized database of verified trademark information that protects right-holders as new domain extensions are launched.
Once brand owners submit their trademark data with the TMCH, they are eligible to enroll in brand protection programs such as the Domains Protected Mark List (DPML), which grants rights-holders powerful domain protection rights against cybersquatters.
Enrolling in the Domains Protected Mark List
Once you subscribe to the DPML, you will be able to:
- Get notified of 3rd party attempts to register domains matching your trademark records
- Protect the exact match of the trademark as well as keywords containing the trademark
- Receive first priority to register newly launched extensions
- Prevent registration availability of protected marks for 5 or 10 years
3. Paid Advertising Campaigns
Brand owners investing in pay-per-click advertising programs need to be aware of brand bidding/trademark bidding by partners, affiliates, competitors, or impersonators who may intentionally divert your targeted web traffic and capture those sales themselves.
This tactic is especially prevalent during major holiday periods where online sales activities tend to spike during the year.
So brands must be vigilant in identifying and enforcing their trademark rights against such bad actors.
The Search Monitor is a paid search monitoring platform that offers compliance solutions that will keep those parties in check.
4. E-Commerce Marketplace Monitoring
If your business involves selling products on shopping networks, such as Amazon, Shopify, Ebay, etc., eliminating counterfeit merchandise from these marketplaces is imperative.
Although platforms like Amazon and Ebay have their own individual protection services such as the Amazon Brand Registry, Ebay Verified Rights Owner Program, 3rd party counterfeit monitoring software can help you instantly track multiple online marketplaces and websites for trademark infringement and other suspicious activity.
For instance, Red Points is a real-time brand protection management software that auto-detects counterfeits using keyword search bots and image recognition technology. You can quickly make enforcement decisions against any potential violations captured by the system.
5. Mobile Apps Monitoring
Smartphones have become integral to our daily lives and mobile app development has grown substantially because of it.
The increase in mobile apps also means more opportunities for trademark infringement to occur.
If your business has created an app listed in Google Play, Apple, iTunes, MS Windows, or other app stores, it is critical to monitor these platforms to detect any fraudulent activities that may be linked to your brand.
Mobile apps monitoring services like BrandShield employs automatic discovery and analysis of suspected infringement. Enforcement options can be applied swiftly to remove unauthorized apps from the marketplace.
Be Diligent in Protecting Your Brand
As you can see, your brand spreads across many different digital channels: social media, domain registries, paid ad spaces, online marketplaces, app stores, amongst other websites.
Determining which tools are the best fit to monitor your brand will depend on the type and scope of protection required.
Below is a list of companies that provide various all-in-one brand protection services.
- Pointer Brand Protection
- Red Points Solutions
- The Search Monitor
If you have not registered a trademark yet, it is strongly recommended that you do so in order to legally enforce your intellectual property rights.
Have questions about trademarks?
Speak to one of our knowledgeable trademark lawyers and we’d be happy to help you address them. (778) 565-4700
The preceding content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please contact our offices directly.