The new reality: generic top-level domains are here
Whether new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) represent new prospects for your business or another front to defend, every brand needs a strategy to address them. As hundreds of new gTLDs come onto the market, this is the time to decide whether to register, block or police your brands in the new registries. Work with your colleagues in legal and risk management, balancing risks, opportunities and budget constraints to develop your strategy.
Time to rethink your defenses
With 600+ gTLDs expected to launch over the next three years, no company can afford to register every key brand term in every new extension. Most companies will need to rethink their approach to brand protection, shifting from a strategy based upon traditional defensive domain registrations to one that monitors the expanded Internet namespace for brand abuse. If you don't already have established guidelines, your legal, brand protection and risk management teams should work with you to develop policies for detecting and mitigating domains that infringe on your trademarks and steal your traffic.
Brand trust matters more in an omnichannel world
In today's omnichannel world, consumers demand a seamless and authentic brand experience across channels. Whether researching a purchase, engaging in social media or conducting a transaction on the go, consumers seek "the real deal." Brandjackers are acutely aware of this, impersonating brands with lookalike sites -- and lookalike apps -- to lure traffic, confusing customers and driving up digital marketing costs. Recent research revealed that one in five online shoppers was duped into visiting a site selling counterfeit goods while seeking digital deals. Savvy companies can continue to build consumer trust in the digital world with a comprehensive brand protection strategy that safeguards their customers from malicious brand impersonators.
Keep up with fast movers - social media and mobile
Brandjackers are quick to take advantage of rapidly growing digital phenomena, impersonating brands in social media and mobile. Both markets are fluid and evolving rapidly: new social networks or hot apps can dominate in mere months and acquisitions by larger companies can shift social platforms’ policies and approaches. Your brand protection strategy needs to be similarly fluid to stay ahead of brandjackers. Social sites in global markets such as China are also on the rise, requiring brands to develop a global monitoring strategy to head off brand issues.
Make domain security a priority
Hackers and hacktivists are hijacking domains with more frequency, redirecting or taking down sites altogether. No brand wants to see its company featured in the headlines as the victim of a domain hack! Domains are business-critical assets that demand around-the-clock protection to maintain business continuity and brand reputation. Be sure to employ multiple layers of protection, including state-of-the-art security from your domain name registrar.
Protecting your brand in the “Big Data” era yields business intelligence
A well-designed brand protection strategy for the digital world will not only safeguard your brand and your customers, but will also build competitive advantages. Use the data generated by your brand protection program to understand the market gaps that drive consumers to counterfeit goods and fill that need proactively by building new marketing, pricing, service and distribution strategies to capitalize on consumer demand. Partnering with your legal or brand protection teams can yield valuable insights that increase legitimate sales while undermining counterfeiters.
In the digital world the impact of brand abuse is instantaneous and sweeping. By applying these best practices to your online brand protection strategy for 2014, you will be better prepared to combat risks to your reputation, your customers and your revenue.