Businesses go to great lengths to build and maintain a strong online presence and a good online reputation.
But then, there are always bad actors and fraudsters hijacking and capitalizing on this goodwill.
What is that they do? they impersonate or assume the online identity of your business and/or brand. This is called “brand jacking” or “brand hijacking”
We will discuss brand hijacking, its repercussions, and provide you with actionable solutions to safeguard you online reputation and presence.
Imagine a scenario where a customer stumbles upon a website that looks strikingly similar to that of your brand. The logos, content, and overall branding appear authentic, making it challenging for users to differentiate between the real and the fake. This is brand hijacking ‑ the act of imitating a brand’s online presence to mislead customers and stakeholders for malicious purposes.
These fake websites not only copy the visual elements but also the content that defines a brand. This confuses customers, erodes trust, and dilutes the unique voice that sets your brand apart. It could lead to financial losses, damaged reputations, and legal consequences.
Loss of credibility, trust, and customer confidence. Misleads customers and might result in legal consequences. When a fake website replicates a brand’s content, it can manipulate the narrative, spread misinformation, or present a distorted image of the company’s values and offerings. It increases the likelihood of customers falling victim to scams, phishing attacks, or outright frauds. This not only impacts current customers but can also deter potential customers from engaging with the legitimate brand.
The unauthorized use of logos, slogans, and other trademarked elements can result in legal battles, further tarnishing the brand’s reputation and draining valuable resources.
How to Fight Brand Hijacking?
The battle against brand hijacking is quite complex and requires a proactive and multipronged approach.
Monitor Online Brand Mentions
Use social listening tools to track and monitor online mentions of your brand. Regularly check search engine results, social media platforms, and other online spaces for any unauthorized use of your brand identity.
Register Your Trademarks, Wordmarks, and Logos
Legally safeguard your brand’s intellectual property. This will help you enforce brand rights in the online space.
Establish and Consolidate Online Brand Presence
Create your official and verified presence on all important social media platforms, review sites, market place and directory listings. Buy and park all relevant variations of your brand domain names. Create consistent and engaging content on official channels to help customers differentiate between the real and the fake.
Enforce Your Brand Rights
Report and take down fake presence on all major online platforms, search engines, and social media networks. These platforms have a mechanism to report and address intellectual property violations.
Raise awareness amongst your customers about the prevalence of fake websites and how to identify them. Provide guidelines on checking the authenticity of websites and encourage reporting anything suspicious.
Monitoring your online presence, building, and consolidating your brand online, and proactively enforcing your brand rights is the only way you can defeat brand hijacking. However, it is resource and effort-intensive and is best done by an agency that specialises in brand rights enforcement and brand protection.