Did you know that your brand identity is the most indispensable business asset? As long as your brand is online, it’s susceptible to identity theft. Most times, we fail to check on our brand regularly even with the unmatched levels of website duplicity that is going on.
How then could brand identity theft harm your company?
It is as serious as it gets and could bring your company (which you have worked so hard to build over the years) to its knees. This is how:
Defamation: If someone is paid to publish mispresented information or review your website negatively, it will definitely ruin your company’s reputation. It has happened before where someone is paid to slander your company and subtly recommends your clients to your competitors.
Diversion of traffic: Fraudsters can use your name as a keyword in their search engine optimization to divert traffic to their website. Customers might not notice the difference especially if there are similarities in products or the website. They either end up stealing your sales or worse get clients information for fraudulent activities.
Job scams: This is in fact very common, where fraudsters have a duplicate website of a well-known company, they advertise fake jobs to make money. This has ruined the reputations of most companies greatly and has negatively influenced their niche of hiring experienced professionals.
Phishing: Fraudsters could duplicate your website and use it to install malware to users hence exposing them to fraud. This leaves you in a vulnerable position where you could lose your customer base.
This is how you can protect your company from identity theft.
1. Develop brand guidelines
A clear brand guideline if well communicated on your social platforms, website and emails can go a long way in helping clients identify what is not genuine. Communications should also be consistent and have identified items such as a logo.
2. Visual elements
Visual elements are very key and are easily identifiable. Have unique visual elements that can help your clients identify your products or services, invoices, emails, website etc.
3. Constantly do a brand audit
It is important that you constantly do an audit. Check your social pages, the feedback clients are giving, check reviews, websites that have reviewed your products or services, competitors etc. You might land on that page you did not know was impersonating you.
4. Study your market regularly
I habitually do a search – on the search engine- of our business taglines, keywords and possible social accounts that might be infringing on our brand. Not that you become a stalker, but you should not wait for clients complaints to take action.
5. Don’t ignore, report.
If you notice plagiarism, defamation, duplication, identity theft and any other suspicious information, report to the necessary authority. Be alert on fake social profiles
Now, if you haven’t checked on your website for the last one year or have not searched your business to see if there are other accounts associated to it, this is the perfect reminder that it’s about time you did all that, otherwise, fraudsters might just remind you when it’s too late.