Protecting your brand online… What’s on your mind

A Strong Identity is Key to Your Success

This is a different kind of post than what we normally do. We were asked, “What’s on your mind?” and decided to answer that question for you. The process wasn’t as scary as we thought it would be because, let’s face it, we are often thinking of some crazy, wacked things. Today, though, we are thinking of the importance you, a small business owner, have in protecting your brand—or in other words, ensuring you are protected from trademark infringement, negative publicity, bad graphic design work and other common problems. See? Not reason enough to run to the hills, right? But, ask us that same question tomorrow and you may get a completely different response. For now, though, let’s dig into this topic a little deeper.

What does “protecting your brand” really mean? Well, where we’re coming from, it means guarding your reputation, particularly online. It’s making sure you have good street cred. Your brand is everything from your customers, your logo and the names of your products and services to what the public says about you. Often times, when you hire an agency to handle your marketing, graphic design, public relations and the like, you hand them your brand to manage. That brand is your street cred. It’s what you work hard to build up and maintain (as you should). A salon that is better known for butchering haircuts and colors likely has bad street cred and therefore a bad brand. But if that salon stops butchering haircuts and colors first and then hires a marketing agency to help them overcome that bad street cred, the result should be a better brand, and that salon should want to maintain the good vibes coming from that brand. Bad street cred = bad for business.

So how do you protect your brand online? Leave it to the professionals. Let those with degrees and experience in graphic design, marketing, public relations and the like put that fancy education to work so that you can focus on doing what you do best. You will likely be approached by other companies who say they can help you with a logo or a direct mail piece or even social media management for what seems to be a really good price or as part of a package deal you may be interested in, but unless you know this company and their reputation (check their street cred), you are much better off going with an agency you know will do the job and do the job well. Don’t sacrifice your brand just to save a few bucks. What that means for you in the long run is not worth it. Having a credible, professional brand is worth spending money on. See some great examples of web design & brand logo design here.

So, run your bank, your dry cleaners, your gym, your salon, your clothing store, etc. and keep providing your community with service and products that cannot be found anywhere else and let the professionals in the creative world maintain your online reputation. In the end, you get what you pay for, and you want to pay for a great, reliable, professional brand.

If you find someone posting icky-looking creative on behalf of your company or saying icky things about your company online, you have to confront it. The icky-looking creative (be that a logo they ripped off or their attempt to help you with graphic design surrounding a promotion you are running) needs to be removed from wherever it is posted immediately. Don’t let anyone without your consent create anything for you. And for the love of everything in us, don’t let them post in or on a public forum unless it has gone up the chain of command for approvals. And if you see icky comments about your company, the best thing to do is to answer that with a kind, concise remark in a public forum and then take it offline. Click here for more on how to handle unfavorable comments in the social media world. Make it right for your customer. And above all, be your own watchdog and police.

So, there you have it. That’s what’s on our mind. We may be crazy and kooky, but sometimes, we do have something of importance to share. We’d love to tell you more about this. Drop us a line and let us know what you think or ask us any questions you may have! And until we’re asked again, we hope this information is helpful, insightful and, if nothing else, provided a five-minute respite to your busy day.  Thanks for reading.  ‘Til next time. . .

 

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