Theft is a concern for all businesses because it results in a loss of profit: every business’ nightmare. Theft, however, means completely different things for a typical brick and mortar store in comparison to an online store. In an online business environment, theft of physical stock is no longer a concern, but rather theft of intellectual property. This blog post will highlight five ways you can actively protect your brand from online theft.
1. Design a powerful logo
Your brand identity revolves around your logo and design. When creating your logo, be direct and to the point. Think about the message you want to convey to your customers and whether a specific logo allows you to do so. Design something that will be long lasting. You want to avoid making drastic changes to your logo too often. Small tweeks are fine, but drastic changes could jeopardise your brand strength and confuse customers, thus increasing chances of brand theft. Online stores should stamp or stick their logo on all packaging to strengthen the brand.
2. Register your trademark
First, let’s establish what intellectual property is: “intangible property that is the result of creativity.” This creativity can include designs, images, software, literature, artistic and musical works. So how do you protect your intellectual property? Register a trademark for your logo, designs, slogan, your brand or any other words that may be linked with your brand. Creating a trademark is the first step to help you create customer trust and ultimately create a good reputation. Once you have a registered trademark, not only will the well known trademark symbol scare thieves away, it will also give you a good standing in any possible future issues that may lead to court.
3. Create brand guidelines
A brand guide helps you keep the image and style of your brand uniform in all channels of communication. Create a simple and seamless brand guide for all employees, especially those who interact with customers. This is so that your brand image and message stays consistent throughout all functions of the business now and in the future. If you are unsure about where to start and need inspiration, take a look at other companies and adopt ones you like. Make sure your brand guide is not too wordy and contains a good amount of visuals or images. Also, make sure you revise the brand guide every now and again to ensure it is current and valid.
4. Create a strong brand presence
An excellent customer experience is difficult to imitate. That’s one more reason for you to strive to build your brand presence. Creating a strong brand presence means consumers know exactly what to expect from your brand, whether that is good service, fast delivery or great quality products. If you succeed in delivering these vital touchpoints, it will be harder for competitors or theives to replicate.
5. Protect yourself
It is important to protect yourself. To do this ensure that you include an intellectual property clause in your terms and conditions. All that is left for you now is to monitor your competitors to ensure that there is no intellectual property theft taking place. If you notice any brand infringement, take action immediately. You may need to hire a lawyer and send the culprit a cease and desist letter.
These guidelines should be useful, but remember in more serious cases it is best to contact a corporate lawyer to assist you, especially so if you are in a situation where brand theft has already taken place.