Creating a brand strategy can be one of the most difficult steps you undertake for your organization. It’s frequently the part of developing the business that most companies put the most effort in accomplishing, and it’s a crucial part of laying a solid foundation for your brand and protecting it against risk. However, do you have all the departments needed to finalize a strong plan? This means marketing, IT and legal should be involved.
Many executives feel that business strategy is set by them, brand strategy is figured out by the marketing team, the technical details are implemented by IT and legal works out the problems when tragedy strikes. As a result, no one collaborates together, and the moving parts of the business strategy don’t support the brand strategy, causing the performance of the company to falter or even fail.
Your business wants to set ambitious goals, therefore shouldn’t you invest in and develop a brand strategy that all entities are aligned with?
Branding isn’t just about your catchy company name, your gorgeous logo or your trendy packaging design. Your branding is your company’s asset: it’s a factor of strength and reputation to attract and retain customers, business partners, employees, and investors.
Protecting it proves to be very challenging, even for reputable companies.
It is all about protecting your assets and protecting your brand. With innumerable ways for brand abusers to hit you, attentiveness and persistence are essential among all departments. You must clearly communicate your message and engage with your customers on a regular basis, and every piece of your marketing must be consistent across each platform. Furthermore, all the technical aspects must perform at their best, with the necessary backup and security functionality in place. Lastly, if your brand is compromised, a plan must be established so legal can seamlessly pick up the torch.
Let’s be real: hackers, domain infringers, copyright thieves and embezzlers create a true threat to your company online.
Your brand is wide-open to imitation and exploitation of its reputation. In many ways, you can distinguish it as a sign of success if you see imitations of your products or services showing up in the market. It proves that you have a strong brand but it also devalues it. Therefore, be proactive in every aspect of brand strategy. In today’s age of the internet, managing the brand and reputation are complex efforts, and usually, an organization’s resources and capabilities to manage them are isolated by each separate department.
Marketing brainstorms creative, ad campaigns, and manages performance. Moreover, IT directs the technical details, builds out safeguards and troubleshoots issues. In addition, Legal gets involved only when a crisis has occurred and needs to react to unlawful action by a third party.
Businesses that have effectively developed a strong brand strategy and managed threats have gone about it a different way. Firstly, they create a robust plan by tightly connecting departments across the organization. The strategy includes significant involvement by executives, marketing, IT and legal, with coordinated preparation and implementation of the plan. Doesn’t it make sense that you as a business respond to an emergency with a proactive approach, rather than scrambling to figure out what to do in defense? If threats are not addressed directly, with all departments involved, your company faces the risk of witnessing what could have been a controlled event turn into something much more serious.
Are your vendors ensuring you have everything covered?
Risk-sensing tools can help your company identify new and emerging reputational hazards and trends. You can couple automated risk-sensing tools with human intelligence to screen the data and create actionable insights. When marketing, IT and legal have a voice in establishing these elements with your entire team, the connectivity allows your organization to keep a finger on the pulse of issues and topics that matter most to the brand strategy, business, and reputation—and get ahead of what could disrupt the company as a whole.
Simple steps would include asking these questions:
Do you have someone on the watch for competitors or imitators and their activity?
This means having a team in place evaluating all media for potential copycats. They can regularly examine search engines, social networking sites, auction and trade board sites, emails, and blogs for possible infringers, and review meta tags and create Google alerts. You can have international watch services set up, which allows you to receive notices of third parties attempting to register similar trademarks.
Are your domains working at their best?
Your strategic teams should be monitoring domain name assets and identifying changes quickly to ensure they are compliant to corporate policies in place. Your company’s domain portfolio should point to the correct nameservers for example and have SSL certifications installed and a plan must be established in regard to generating optimal traffic to your main site in alignment with the products or services you have trademarked.
In conclusion, managing the brand is a cross-functional issue. And developing a brand strategy that everyone collaborates on can generate the support needed to drive changes throughout the business and improve your company’s capabilities in brand performance, longevity and resiliency. Organizations that are most effective in managing through a crisis proactively develop a communication plan and executive engagement strategy to ensure that responses and messaging are well thought out in advance.
Subsequently, executives think of brand and reputation management as just a marketing activity. The reality is that managing brand and reputation is multifaceted, which is why an approach that includes all involved is essential. Leading practices include someone to build the strategy and oversee it while connecting the various departments: marketing, IT and legal, and engaging executives. A strong brand strategy reinforces reputation and generates brand equity, which will help your organization weather crises and reputation-damaging situations.