Whether your company employs dozens of staff members to run on a daily basis, or you're a one-man-band who advertises your services through a blog that you write yourself, it's important to remember that one of the most important things you have is your brand image. During an advertising campaign, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that you're doing everything possible to maintain the integrity of your brand, and stopping other people from damaging the image you have struggled to create.
Although the Internet has delivered many different benefits to businesses today - particularly when it comes to finding new and innovative advertising campaign opportunities, it has also delivered a host of different threats to brands, including everything from online fraud, to unauthorized distribution and brand abuse. Even social networking - a marketing concept that has allowed companies to create a more interactive relationship with their fans and customers, has led to additional risks as brand hijackers find new ways of stealing customers.
When you're conducting an advertising campaign online, make sure you consider the following five tips for keeping your brand safe and secure.
1. Know The Risks You're Facing
First and foremost, one of the best ways to defend yourself from malicious individuals on the Internet, and competitors that hope to damage your brand reputation, is to understand the . Your brand is one of the most important assets you own, and when you are advertising online, there are a number of ways in which other people can use that asset against you, including:
- Traffic diversion - Sending customers away from your site and towards another by using a search engine keyword.
- Pay per Click Fraud - Programs that click on your online advertisements posing as buyers - driving up your charges without giving you any benefits.
- SEO Manipulations - The violation of search engine rankings
- Cybersquatting - People who sell alternate spellings of your brand name to competitors so that they can use this internet space against you.
- Criticism - This is a particularly relevant concern on social networking sites and forms, as the customer and business relationship continues to change.
2. Learn to Respond to Criticism
If is one of your biggest fears, make sure that you know how to turn a negative response on its head, and use poor reviews to your advantage. A single bad testimonial online can be enough to completely derail your advertising strategy, particularly if it is shared, retweeted and referred to over time. However, if you show that you are willing to address any problems that your customers have with a service or product, by responding to their concerns and offering them a solution, you can change the way people view your company in an instant.
3. Make Sure Your Brand is Consistent
Another useful tip for ensuring brand safety during your advertising campaigns, is that you should always . By generating a voice, a tone, and an image that is instantly recognizable, it should be easier for potential customers to recognize when competitors or malicious individuals are leading them astray. What's more, by maintaining a consistent brand, you reassure your brand that you are committed to a certain collection of values that isn't going to change over time.
4. Own Any Alternative Spellings
To ensure that competitors cannot slander your name and ruin your brand advertising through the use of websites with similar spellings to your own brand name, make sure that you purchase any possible domain names that may result as a miss-spelling when someone is searching for your company. By registering domain names that use variants of your own brand, you can stop scammers from getting hold of them and potentially using them to exploit individuals who may believe they are legitimately on your site- therefore ruining your advertising opportunities.
5. Constantly Watch Over Your Brand
Finally, be sure to make use of the various tools and applications that are available to help you watch your brand while you have an advertising campaign running. For example, can help you to search the Internet for areas across social media and in forums where members of the public might mention your brand. These tools can also help you to find out where your brand is most likely to appear in relation to different search engine results, so that you can tailor your SEO strategy accordingly. By watching your brand carefully, you should be able to tackle any problems immediately, and stop any pitfalls that could otherwise stop your advertising campaign in its tracks.
Disclosure: ExactDrive works with many leading partners to ensure the highest possible level of brand safety for our clients including DoubleVerify, MdotLabs (now comScore) and Proximic (now comScore).