Protecting your brand online

Oct 10, 2019 by Mark Baines Category: Brand Design

This is a growing issue and one that will be increasingly exercising us digital marketers as the internet becomes more ubiquitous and less easy to control.

It’s something we all ought to know about and even be familiar with, as it’s our jobs which are on the line when things go wrong!

With this in mind, we members of the Levitt Group were addressed by a leading lawyer in this field, Helen Roberts, who is enjoying an illustrious career at the leading edge of online legal developments, and with a UK regulator. It’s an interesting subject because most brands are potentially very vulnerable: it’s easy for someone to pass themselves off as someone else, or blatantly flout the law in any of many ways, as the internet is so hard to control.

So in this era of ‘fake news’, ‘brand theft’ and YouTube activism, what can you do to protect your brand from threats by competitors and surfers? Helen looked at both practical and legal steps you can take to protect the value of your brand and to address possible issues early.

The first thing to bear in mind is that the country of registration provides the rules you have to follow, so if you’re dealing with a ‘’, a ‘.com’ or a ‘.fr’ or ‘.de’ then they will each have a regulator who provides and enforces the rules (in theory, at least!).

In the UK it’s the ASA’s CAP and the CMP who are primarily responsible for the content (that’s the Advertising Standards Authority, the Code of Advertising Practice and the Competition Markets Authority, respectively), and similarly each country has its own content regulators, which can be revealed by a quick search on google.

Domains can be more of a problem – we’ve all come across cyber-squatting in one form or another, which is harder to control. The best advice is to avoid the issue altogether, by simply buying up all the domain names which could affect you; it’s much cheaper in the long run!

This will also give you some protection from some of the more unsavoury aspects of online fraud/blackmail/crime (or whatever you like to call it!).

Social media trolling is an even bigger issue these days, along with fake reviews and other uses of social media. All of these can be addressed through an open and honest CSR policy, but in extreme cases it’s only the police who can provide the protection you might need.

The opaque nature of online trading creates vulnerabilities which are hard to insure against and remedy when they happen. The best way to guard against these is to seek the advice of an expert. It doesn’t have to be an expensive lawyer like Helen Roberts – any digital marketer will know the basics, and where to go for more specific and detailed support.

Why not ask me and see for yourself!?

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