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If you run a business, you may benefit from a robust online presence. However, once you release information about your business online, other people may take steps to damage your brand. Often businesses make the mistake of only protecting their brand when they are already experiencing infringements. However, your brand is vital for the success of your business. Therefore, you should take protecting it seriously. This article will provide tips on how to protect your business’ brand online, including:

  • protecting your intellectual property;
  • setting up Google Alerts;
  • ensuring that your cybersecurity is up to scratch;
  • being careful about what your business posts online; and
  • handling online reviews politely and professionally.

Protect Your Intellectual Property

You should comprehensively protect any intellectual property that you create for your business. Doing so ensures that people cannot use your brand assets without your permission, such as any of your: 

  • brand imaging; 
  • logos; or 
  • slogans; 

You should register your logo and brand details as trade marks. Ensure that you know what assets qualify for copyright and register necessary patents. It would help if you also considered creating a domain name that reflects your business. Registration allows people to search for your business and clearly identify what websites relate to it.

What intellectual property rights you need will ultimately depend on what you have created for your online business.

Set Up Google Alerts

You should also set up Google Alerts for your business name so that you know what is happening with your brand online. These notifications will alert you when someone mentions your brand, which in turn may alert you to possible copyright or trade mark infringements. Additionally, this will allow you to track how people talk about your brand online. As a result, you can stay up-to-date with any issues that may arise. 

Ensure Your Cybersecurity is Up to Scratch

A security breach of your website or social media can cause serious harm to your business. Your pages may be defaced, and your content can be deleted. Additionally, your customers’ details may be stolen if hackers manage to infiltrate your payment systems. According to the Privacy Act, you must protect your customers’ personal information. Therefore, you could face serious legal problems if you lose their information in this way. A hacking episode can cause severe long-term reputational damage to your business’ brand. To protect your brand, you should ensure that all of your online sites are secure.  

Be Careful About What Your Business Posts Online

It is more likely that your customers will recognise your business through its online presence rather than its physical one. For this reason, ensuring that you are the only person who can use your brand images online is vital. However, you should also ensure that your business or its employees do not post anything offensive or derogatory online. People will not want to interact with a business if they are offended or upset by something on your social media pages. Ensure that all advertising and posts your business makes are mature and non-offensive. Be polite when engaging with customers online. 

Handle Online Reviews Appropriately

In the online world, you will also have to deal with online reviews. They are an essential part of your brand. Online reviews attract people to purchase goods and services from you, and positive reviews are a great way to attract potential customers. 

However, you may also receive negative reviews. While you may feel that there is a risk that negative reviews can cause damage to your brand, your response to these negative reviews are far more likely to affect your image. You should ensure that you respond to any negative reviews professionally and politely. Be sure to take on board any valid concerns that customers raise.

Deleting negative reviews could be considered misleading under consumer law and is often forbidden by review sites.

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Key Takeaways

Most businesses today have a strong online presence that they use to promote their brand and attract potential customers. To protect your business’ brand online, you should consider:

  • legally protecting your intellectual property;
  • setting up Google Alerts;
  • ensuring that your cybersecurity is up to scratch;
  • being careful about what your business posts online; and
  • handling online reviews politely and professionally.

If you need help with legal issues relating to your online business, our experienced eCommerce lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my business’s payment portal gets hacked and my customer’s information is leaked?

You should take all possible steps to protect your customers’ personal information. If you experience a breach, you may be liable under the Privacy Act.

Can I delete unfavourable reviews of my online business?

No, you cannot. This may amount to misrepresentation of your business, which can have serious legal consequences. Instead, you should reply professionally to any negative reviews or comments and take their feedback on board where appropriate.

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