How to Properly Protect Your Brand in The International Market

To build a global brand means opening new doors and bringing countless opportunities for our business. But such opportunities come with their own list of responsibilities and dangers that need to be accounted for. For those of us that want to enter the international market, most notable are the dangers of copycat brands and marketing. There are plenty of people that would try to build their own legacy by using our own content, ideas and brand features.

That said, it is obvious that building a global brand requires more than just launching a web site that is accessible worldwide. Our brand represents our ideas, intellectual properties, products and services and conveys or presence and desired appearance to the world. Therefore, it is important to protect our company and its assets from outside abuse. Here are some steps to go over in order to minimize these types of threats.


1. The basics

The very first thing all brands need to begin with is checking and then choosing a name that is actually available. The same goes for logos, slogans web pages, etc. We too need to be careful to not infringe or violate someone else’s rights. This might be more complicated than first meets the eye. The reason being is that even picking a name that is too similar to someone else’s can be construed as cybersquatting. We need to strive towards avoiding any and all such allegations as much as possible. It does require a fair bit of research on our part during the planning phase of building our brand.


2.  Monitoring competition

Having our direct competition use our assets in an illegal manner is very dangerous. Because of this, we need to constantly monitor the behaviour of our competition and put a stop to all and any unauthorized activities on their part. That is where the law comes into play, as companies are guaranteed the exclusive rights to their own assets, provided we went to all the hoops to make it legally binding. If any such infractions do happen, our response needs to be immediate as any time that passes damages our brand.


3.  Content protection

Uploading original content does not necessarily mean that the audience will recognize us as the original author. Not many people pause the content they are consuming to check the metadata like the date and location it was created. All that they will notice is that this content is a repeat, something they have already seen somewhere else. And that is enough to cause our brand harm. Plagiarism is a tricky subject. There is always some degree that has to be tolerated as it is not a fixed term. With so much content online, it is bound to occur on accident sometime. Phrases, idioms, quotes, statistics and even artistic liberties are going to overlap sooner or later. That said, simply displaying directly copied sentences and paragraphs is a big no-no and will damage any brand severely. To prevent making these transgressions we can always use online duplicate checkers.


4.  Favorable market

Just because we have clicked with our current target audience does not mean that our new one will respond in kind. We need to compare the new market with all the questions we asked our initial one. First and foremost, we need to make sure that there even is a market for what we are offering. If that is the case, are the needs already being met by someone else, already present in the targeted market? If the answer is yes, then how are we going to stand out from the already established competition? And if there is no competition that is not necessarily a good thing as there must be a good reason for it. Maybe there is legislation in place that is incompatible with our business and brand.


5.  Trademarks

Once we have figured out all of the basics our brand will consist of, we would need to trademark it and make it traits legally ours. It is usually not a complex process because legal consultation is basically necessary. Luckily for us, there are plenty of such organizations like the reputable Actuate IP that will guide us through the trademark process in a professional manner. They will prepare the groundwork and will minimize the possibilities for any misinterpretation and mistakes. In the end, they are always the ones we can call if we notice that our trademark has been infringed by somebody.


6.  The message

Crafting an adequate message for a foreign market is essential for building brand awareness and increasing sales. We need to communicate a message that is relevant to the selected market and quite possibly, our old one might not be compatible. It needs to address the needs and wants of our customers.  Our audience needs to be receptive to it, needs to relate to it and understand it. Provided we have done our research and homework with regards to the new market, we have honed our branding to a new targeted audience. It is always a good strategy to monitor what the already established competition is doing. Some businesses go with the ‘old and established’ approach, but that is not always the best course of action for a new market. What is a household name in one region might be completely unknown in another. The medium through which we are going to send our message is equally as important. For a country that uses mostly bikes for transportation, it makes little sense to advertise through radio. We need to communicate our message where it is going to be seen or heard. What are the habits of potential clients in our targeted country? What are the locations where we would reach most of them? These are some of the questions we need to find answers for in our prior research. Finally, the manner or tone in which we are communicating our message is the final piece of the puzzle. The way we utter our words is equally as important as the choice in those words. Manner and tone can be expressed in many ways. Packaging, advertising, online promotion, through word-of-mouth and the way we answer the phone when a potential client contacts us. Even though we might be very far away, all of these aspects represent us and our brand.


7.  Quick response

Our brand will most likely be endangered by misinterpretation of our content, rather than alienation. Simply put, someone might take our statements or actions out of context and use them to portray our brand in some other light other than intended. Even such honest mistakes and misinterpretations must be met with a prompt response and should be treated very seriously before it turns into a PR disaster. A complaint or a public announcement is the best course of action to take as soon as possible. Usually, it is a combination of methods that provide us with the best results. Whatever the course of action we decide on, inaction is out of the question no matter what.


8.  A constant process

Some tools do allow us to automate the process of brand and trademark protection. But not all can be put on autopilot. Brand and business protection is a continuous strive, one that needs to be monitored, managed and optimized regularly. It is not a set it and forget it type of deal. No matter how big our company gets, we are not immune to cybersquatting and content theft and misuse. Smaller brands also share the same burden, only in their cases, it just might take longer until someone notices a transgression of some kind. Ever since we form our company, we need to be vigilant and aware of any trademark infringement or misuse of intellectual property as it can hinder our growth, considerably. It is an effort that never really ends as it is a continuous process.

When it comes to branding, a negative customer experience travels further and louder than a positive one. Developing an employee manual, investing in courses for our staff are just some of the courses of action that we can take. The more we know, the more we are prepared to tackle foreign markets. As a business, we need to know exactly how to protect what we have made ourselves. Sure, we may not experience theft in the conventional sense, but all unauthorized use will diminish the value of what we have made. With these tips, it is a concern that can be tackled.


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