MarkMonitor, a company specialising in online trademark protection and the management of domains, offers five key tips for optimising the return on investment in marketing through an effective trademark protection strategy for digital channels.

Global trademarks face an increased risk of abuse and illegal use, as well as online attacks that can reduce marketing ROI and jeopardise reputations, website traffic and revenues. When developing and implementing a marketing plan for 2015, it is worth taking these 5 essential strategies for the protection of your trademark’s reputation and “health” into account in order to optimise its performance in digital channels.

  1. Prevent ‘cybersquatters’ and trademark counterfeiters from intercepting your web traffic.

Phishers and counterfeiters of online trademarks are very good at interfering with digital online promotions and intercepting web traffic, thus creating brand confusion and jeopardising the revenues generated by e-commerce. A report published last year by MarkMonitor and Nielson found that one in every six consumers is still making purchases via illegal or fake websites. It is important to be proactive in combating scammers and preventing them from getting between the trademark’s legitimate websites and its customers. By tackling fraudulent practices, trademark owners can recover web traffic and protect their revenues, while improving the ROI of digital marketing initiatives.

  1. Ensure that partners comply with your trademark guidelines.

Business partners are key extensions of the brand as they attract online traffic and indirectly generate revenue. To maintain optimal and consistent brand perceptions across all digital channels, marketing departments must ensure that their partners, distributors, franchisees and even employees understand and comply with the brand guidelines. A clear compliance policy and good supervision of digital channels will ensure that all internal and external partners follow the guidelines, thus avoiding confusion on the part of customers, enabling you to recover legitimate website traffic and minimise unnecessary commissions.

  1. Optimise your domain portfolio and maximise your web traffic.

A key approach in any trademark protection strategy is to speak to the company’s domain administrator to ensure that the domain portfolio is actually fulfilling its purpose. To maximise traffic to your website, all domains should take users to the appropriate content, depending on your company’s marketing strategy. You should ask yourself questions like, where do I want to take a potential customer when they enter one of the trademark’s domain names? Should they be taken to the company website, the e-commerce website or a promotional microsite? It is important to link International Language Domains (IDNs) to the websites for specific countries, or domains that contain keywords to certain type of content. In addition, we must consider the new generic top-level domain (gTLDs). Would it be in the company’s interest to apply for its own domains, such as .trademark or a gTLD related to its area of activity? Good management of the domain portfolio provides quick results and allows the company to identify quality web traffic while improving digital marketing performance.

  1. Protect the trademark reputation in ALL digital channels, both social and mobile ones.

Digital channels, including social media and mobile apps, are becoming increasingly important in our personal and professional lives. However, as the popularity of these new channels grows, so too does the threat to company revenue from phishing, fraud, unauthorised use of the trademark and the sale of counterfeit products via unauthorised apps or profiles. To avoid the threat these pose to marketing ROI, marketing departments must make social media and mobile apps essential components of their digital marketing and trademark protection strategies.

  1. Prepare a checklist to protect your trademark when launching new products.

When planning new product or service launches, you should include a checklist of responsibilities and best practices in order to avoid falling into the usual pitfalls that have a negative impact on the brand. Your legal team should work with other internal teams to anticipate and reserve all essential domains (in the relevant countries) in order to effectively promote the new product or service. These domains should be kept hidden and confidential prior to the launch in order to avoid giving clues to the competition. It is also important to ensure that your business partners (distributors, etc.) do not commence digital promotions early so as to ensure a coordinated launch on the scheduled date.

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