Multi-national brands reveal UGC strategy
Online Brand Protection Think Tank suggests a balance must be struck between protection and collaboration
September 13, 2007; 03:51 AM
The online brand
protection think tank delegates tackled the most urgent brand and reputational
challenges resulting from online threats and the growth in popularity of user
generated content. Key issues included: how rapid online developments
could threaten and damage brand reputations built offline; the threat from
fraudulent and counterfeit goods being marketed online; and how companies can
protect their brand reputations from online threats.
weighed up the threats and opportunities user-generated content presents and
went on to discuss how brands should deal with any negative consumer
commentary. The panel concluded that brand owners should not be viewing
user-generated content simply as a threat, but as an opportunity.
Head of Trademarks at Unilever said, “From a consumer product point of view,
these user‑generated content sites are very much our consumers, so the insights
that they give us about what they are interested in; what they’re watching; and
what they’re doing can be invaluable.”
for a new framework enabling companies to weigh up the obvious threats against
the opportunities to harness valuable information. The way for brands to do
this is to shake off knee-jerk reactions to negative comments, but qualify each
case according to its impact before appropriating a response or not.
Richard Wells, Intellectual Property Counsel at De Beers
said, "The thing that is very
difficult to do is weighing up someone's legitimate expression and freedom
of speech on the one hand, with your interests as a brand owner
to ensure that people aren’t either trying to dilute your rights or damage
your reputation in some way.”
Partner at Addleshaw Goddard added, “One question to consider is the extent to
which the site is being picked up by other media, such as the press.
Another question is how many hits it is getting. Those considerations
need to be factored into any decision to take legal action against the site.”
Next to be
discussed was the growing threat from increasingly sophisticated domain name speculators
and the new grey market of ‘domain name tasting’. The panel concluded
that in this case, action needs to be taken by the registry and brands must
ensure they act quickly if a relevant domain name falls into the wrong
hands. There were also discussions regarding a costs penalty for
cybersquatters as there is currently no financial downside for them of losing
dispute resolution proceedings at WIPO or Nominet.
Finally the delegates called on IP rights holders to be realistic in their aspirations, as the majority’s desire for complete control goes against the flow of the Internet community. Companies must realise that this user-generated content will never disappear and it would be a better approach to work with it rather than to unilaterally try to counter every incident.
Jonathan Robinson, Chief Operating Officer of NetNames and chairman of the online brand protection think tank concluded, “The verdict is pretty clear: although there are threats to brand reputation from negative user generated content, the insights to be gained on consumers activities and preferences through this content also presents businesses with a massive opportunity to build more personalised relationships with their customers. Brand owners must be more pragmatic about the evolving online environment and move with the times rather than continue to try to apply old-world ideals to a new battleground. Companies need to find the balance between protecting themselves from threats like cybersquatting and working with the Internet community where possible, rather than against it.”
|Related Press Releases and Features|
|Copyright © 1998 - 2018 DevStart, Inc. All Rights Reserved|