Do you still remember how once upon a time brand experience meant watching TV, posters, flyers and listening to radio ads? Since then, lots have changed. For example, the way of shopping, the way of communicating with consumers, the way of advertising and promoting.

That’s why brands also have to adjust.

  1. SOCIAL NETWORK EXPLOSION

A good example is Super bowl.  9,4 million social media profiles and 4 million of unique users only at the time of the match. Super bowl has strict rules regarding the use of brands (only use of sponsorship brands is allowed in the stadium, even for visitors). Every visitor is a potential brand ambassador and at the same time, they can also have a negative impact. How?

They can misuse it for other purposes like damaging its reputation, creating confusion and tweeting, retweeting and commenting without the permission of the owner.

All of that can significantly affect the brand and its value. More than ever before, brand owners need to actively control and act on social networks, because they are responsible for the safety of consumers and for the safety of brand value.

  • STRATEGIC RESPONSE

Brand owners should act immediately if violation of their brand rights occurs.  How, you may ask? The easiest way is to send a threatening letter from a lawyer to the one performing violation. But when your threatening letter is exposed on social network, it can be a big shock. It’s not optimal if your brand is perceived as a »bully brand«. Healthy measure of tenderness should be applied while protecting your interest so that your action doesn’t come back directly in your face.

Jack Daniel’s letter below is good example of soft, entertaining and effective letter. It could round anywhere and it would still be benevolently perceived while maintaining good name effectively protecting the brand. »Wait and see« approach doesn’t suffice as you have noticed by example of Superbowl, as things my unravel during a span of one game, so good strategy has to be prepared in advance.

  • TAKING RULES INTO ACCOUNT

Despite the general ease of using social networks, mass tweeting, retweeting, liking etc, some rules should be followed. Especially the rule that irregular and unauthorized use of a brand comes with consequences. Even famous people can present brand on two legs and also enjoy the same protection as brands. A good example is Katherine Heigl’s lawsuit against drugstore chain who posted a picture of her carrying chain’s shopping bags on their twitter and the tweet was retweeted countless times! SHE WON.IN MILLIONS.

  • INTERNAL CONDUCT

Behaviour of employees, especially in marketing holds great significance.

Wrong click can create big headache later on, but sometimes it goes in a completely other way. Such example is Arby’s tweet addressed to Pharell William’s hat, which resembled Arby’s brand.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/596652269904404481/ZsMTzLlo_normal.jpg

Arby’s

✔ @Arbys

Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs

2:28 AM – 27 Jan 2014

79,061 79,061 Retweets

53,221 53,221 likes

Fortunately, Pharrell comically replied, but there could be another kind of comedy like compensatory damages.  With so many retweets and likes, Pharrell could sue for incorrect use of his name in connection with Arby’s products, which can create confusion on market. It might come off as if he recommends or cooperates with them, which is illegal without the consent of the brand owner.

Same goes for using hashtags. It’s better to avoid using them if there is no consent of owner and if it can create confusion among costumers about economic link between a person, who posted hashtag and the brand.

So, marketing people- know your marketing limits and learn rules of IP in social media world, you are the first front and you are most important protectors of your own brand, but also have to be respectful of other’s.