There are lots of ways in which a brand can come under attack. Spotting the signs early can help you to defend your reputation and reduce the damage.
Here are just several threats to look out for and what you can to diffuse them.
#1 Customers are publishing negative reviews online
Many customers rely on reviews to help them determine whether a company is worth using or not. If you’ve got more negative reviews than positive reviews, you could find that this drives away customers.
Most review platforms won’t allow you to remove reviews unless they are offensive or obviously faked. The only way in which you can protect your brand in this situation is to encourage more positive reviews.
By asking previous happy customers to leave reviews, you may be able to generate enough positive reviews to counterbalance the negative reviews. The likes of Trip Advisor also allow you to reply to reviews.
Be careful when replying – if the criticism is fair, you’re best to simply apologize, but if you think it’s unfair, feel free to defend yourself.
#2 People are badmouthing you on social media
Negative criticism on social media can be just as bad as negative reviews. A single Facebook post or Tweet could even spread across social media and severely damage your brand’s reputation.
The best way to react to this situation is to reply to the original comment. Your response may depend entirely on the comment – if they’re genuine, you’ll want to be apologetic.
If possible, try to message them directly rather than publicly. This guide at Blueleadzoffers great advice on how to reply to such comments.
#3 Another company is using your name/logo
Another way in which your brand can come under attack is by having elements of your branding stolen. This could include a logo, your company name or text quoted directly from your website. This could be used accidentally or purposefully – either way it could negatively affect the way some customers perceive your brand.
In such a situation, you may want to look into your legal rights. If your branding is trademarked, you may be able to sue them and force them to remove any imitated use of branding.
This guide at Revision Legal discusses more information on trademark law and your rights. Even without a trademark, some content may be protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
#4 You’ve been sued for trademark infringement
The opposite can also occur – it’s possible that another company may have accused you of stealing their branding and could be asking that you remove it along with possibly filing a lawsuit.
If you feel that this is an unfair accusation, you may be able to hire a lawyer to fight your corner. In most other cases, your best option is to alter your branding and pay the compensation owed.
#5 Competitors are attacking you in their advertising
If a competitor attacks you as part of their advertising, this too could damage your brand’s reputation. This is a marketing strategy largely employed by bigger brands, but occasionally smaller brands may get involved in brand wars too.
Generally speaking, if a competitor has called you out by name, they’ve overstepped the mark and it will reflect worse on their brand – most companies will take a more indirect approach.
You should take the chance to defend your brand, but you should try to keep any retort light-hearted. Brand wars can sometimes be good for both brands’ exposure if they’re carried out playfully and professionally.
Is your brand under attack?