There are a lot of people who might try to build their own legacy based on your own content, ideas and even brand features. Protecting your company from them is necessary, yet, it is not an easy thing to do. To protect your content and your brand, you need to make sure you’re on the right track from square one. Here are seven steps that will help you stay unique in the digital world.
1. Start by picking an available name
The first thing you need to do is check whether or not your brand name is available or not. It would be hypocritical to speak about protecting your brand name while deliberately violating or denying someone else’s rights. Same goes for people’s logos, slogans or URLs.
The last part is particularly tricky, seeing as how even picking a name that’s too similar to someone else’s might be interpreted as cybersquatting. You want to avoid allegations of this as much as possible, which is why you need to invest a fair amount of research during the formative stage of your brand.
2. Trademark your brand
Once you’ve picked all the traits of your brand, like the name, the URL and the logo, you need to trademark the brand and make its traits yours by law. In theory, this shouldn’t be that complex, but if you allow a layman to prepare the groundwork for this, you’re opening up a possibility for misinterpretation and mistake further down the line. Therefore, it would be best to look for trademark experts and allow them to take care of this for you. Subsequently, this also gives you someone to call, should you notice that your trademark has been infringed on by the third party.
3. Monitor your competitors
The next thing worth keeping in mind is the fact that not everyone can benefit from your ideas and breakthroughs. After all, by having someone else use your ideas, you aren’t put at a direct disadvantage as a business. On the other hand, if a direct competitor starts using something that’s rightfully yours, you might be in more danger than you believe. Because of that, you need to monitor your competitors and be ready to penalize any misdemeanor on their side, when it comes to the use of your brand. Those who are skilled enough in navigating this landscape can even find a way to generate backlinks using their competitors.
4. Safeguard your content
First of all, just because you were the first one to upload this content it doesn’t mean that your audience will automatically assume your innocence. After all, how many people pause to check the date at which the post was published. All they will notice is the fact that they’ve already read this somewhere, which can be enough to do your brand some harm.
Of course, there are some degrees to which some mild plagiarism can be tolerated. After all, phrases, idioms, quotes and statistics are bound to overlap, however, displaying copy-pasted sentences and paragraphs simply cannot be tolerated. To make sure this isn’t taking place, make sure to use duplicate checker every now and then.
5. The combination of methods is necessary
One of the most important things regarding your brand’s protection is the fact that you simply can’t rely on a single method to keep your brand safe. In other words, a combination of methods is pivotal to the success of your business and, as such, it’s something you need to keep an eye out on. Therefore, this needs to be a combination of blocked and acceptable domains and page-level analysis, as well as anything else you can safely integrate into this system.
6. Respond promptly
Sometimes, your brand won’t be endangered by alienation but misinterpretation of your content. What this means is that someone might take your words or actions outside of context and use them to unjustly portray you in the negative light.
If this happens, you need to treat it as a PR disaster and approach it accordingly. Respond promptly, lay a complaint or make a public announcement as soon as possible. Most commonly, it’s the combination of these methods that are the best course of action. The only thing you can’t afford to do is ignoring this situation.
7. A continuous effort
While some tools allow you to automate the process of trademark protection, keep in mind that this is a continuous effort. Think about it, some companies are cybersquatting on brands like Lego and Coca-Cola, which means that there’s no top limit of how big your company needs to be in order to become immune to such assaults.
Smaller brands are not under a loophole, which means that it might take longer until someone notices a misdemeanor of this kind. In other words, since the formation of your company, you need to be on the lookout for a trademark infringement or misuse of intellectual property and this is an effort that never really ends.
What good is it working on a strong online presence, if you’re willing to let someone else capitalize on it? As a business, you need to learn how to protect what’s yours. In the physical world, this means investing in surveillance systems, security and locks but in the digital world, this requires a different set of measures. Sure, unlike a real-life theft, you don’t actually lose the worth of your work. Still, the fact that any theft or unauthorized use diminishes its value is a valid concern that cannot be denied.
About the Author
David Koller is a freelance passionate blogger, copywriter and occasionally business consultant for Actuate IP, the best company for brand registration Melbourne can offer.