How To Defend Your Brand From Being Misused
A company’s brand is perhaps the most important aspect it has. It stands for what you are, what you do. A company’s brand represents all the hard work, dedication, expertise, professionalism, every positive aspect all rolled into one. And that is why it's so heinous and insulting when somebody wants to take advantage of that.
Namely, people will see your success or your growth, and look at it as an opportunity to attack, to steal, to cheat. They may use your brand name to push their sub-par services and goods. They may drag your name through the mud because of you're a competitor. Whatever the case may be, know that you need to protect your brand, post haste. Below are some strategies and how to do just that.
Scour the Internet
This just may be the first thing you should focus on. In order to track any misleading and deceptive conducts that involve your brand name, you need to see where it was used. And in this day and age, the legal and business battlefield is found on the internet.
So, using proper apps and programs (listing them out is outside the scope of this article) will help you out. These programs, used by trademark professionals, scan the internet and look for places where your logo or trademark has been misused. Furthermore, these can have an extra option where you will be alerted immediately when somebody uses your brand without your permission online.
Get help from your employees
Your employees will be right there, in the middle of it all. They will interact and speak to people in your line of work. And part of their work (and they should, of course, be compensated properly) is to track what the competitors are doing. Have them keep an eye on your competition, see what it looks like, check what's happening.
You can send them out to conferences, seminars, and workshops. There, you will kill two birds with one stone. First of all, you get to train and improve your employees. But, this will also give them a chance to see how the competition is asking. They will notice if somebody is abusing your brand or not.
If you properly train your people, they can notice when trademarks, brands, and logos are misused. They can notice infringement because they are the exact people that will be there when it happens. A new product will most likely be presented at a conference, before let out to the general public. Well, if you play your cards right, your employees will be right there, at that exact conference.
In order to further protect your trademark, you need to set proper guidelines and rules that can help your employees focus. You will show them exactly how to handle sensitive information. This allows your people to use your guidelines without worrying about misusing them. The guidelines themselves need to focus on a couple of things.
First, how to handle sensitive information without letting it spread. This means knowing how to use a computer safely. Learning how to set proper passwords, figuring out which channels are safe, which are not. Next, actually knowing what sections of this information, this brand, and this trademark can be shared with anybody, and which is classified.
They also need to understand what actually constitutes brand misuse. The last thing you want is having an employee of yours start up drama for no good reason.
Remember to have these guidelines freely available. Keep everything neat and organized, hand it out to employees whenever you can.
The moment you figure out somebody is misusing your brand, you need to act, and you need to act fast. For every minute you let this slide, your reputation will get lower and lower. And that’s not all – by ignoring this threat, you show people that they are allowed to do this to you. They can just use leech of your brand, all your hard work, and dedication, and make a profit off of it. Hire a lawyer, send a strongly worded email, and then you can wait.
But, remember, hard feelings can come about from a stressful situation like this. Still, you need to stay calm and in control. Any excess aggression will make you make mistakes and put you in a situation much worse than where you were.
There you have it folks, a couple of ways to defend your brand. Using someone's brand without permission is a despicable and cowardly act, and should be treated as such. This means that you need to do everything you can to make things right and get things under your own control. But, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening in the first place. Namely, get help from your employees, act fast, and set clear guidelines. Once you do this, you will be as right as rain.