Whether you’re sitting in the board room of a Fortune 500 company or are starting your own small business, protecting brand integrity is an important aspect of success. In today’s marketplace, imitation of products and services has become extremely easy. With the rise of the digital age has come increased access to information about popular products and services, and a global network in which to market them. As a result, protecting brand integrity is of great concern. Read on to learn more about the methodology of maintaining brand integrity.
Understanding the integrity compromise. In decades past, protecting brand integrity was relatively easy. As a company, your main duty was to establish the brand as a superior quality product or service. If this endeavor was successful, then you were almost guaranteed recognition and healthy sales. Today, however, manufacturers of counterfeit products in third world countries and high, often shady competition levels in the service industry make even the most well established brands vulnerable. In fact, the brand integrity of more well-known companies is at an even higher risk of being “ripped off”, so to speak. What results is, if your brand integrity is compromised, a loss in potential business and a lowered perception of your company by the general public. This scenario is detrimental to say the least.
Protecting brand integrity using the legal system. One of the most aggressive recent examples of brand integrity protection through the legal system is the RIAA’s series of lawsuits against individuals illegally sharing music. Though this isn’t necessarily tangible, these songs are the intellectual property of the record industry, and are treated as a brand offering. Companies in other industries are wise to take the same zero tolerance approach to potential compromises of their brand. Many proactively work with private investigators, lawyers, and government agencies as a preventative measure. If their brand integrity has already been compromised, they do not hesitate to take legal action.
Maintaining high perceptions. Along with the actual products and services a brand provides, there is also a certain perception that a given brand has among consumers. Keeping this perception level up is paramount to every company’s bottom line. So, in order to prevent threats to it from a compromise in brand integrity, shrewd companies make an effort to communicate and hedge this risk with their customers. They provide resources to customers that help them determine whether a given product or service is authentic. Additionally, they give customers who are looking at the so called “gray market” for counterfeits good reason why these offerings are no substitute for the real thing. This interaction, in addition to a well-thought-out set of controls within the company and supply chain, are the key aspects of protecting brand integrity.