If you’re responsible for protecting your company’s brand in the marketplace, you need tools and technology to do it properly. In the digital age, brand protection is a massive and complex undertaking that requires a well-thought-out strategy, constant vigilance, and a 24/7 view of the entire internet to monitor your brand’s resale presence everywhere. Nobody can handle that alone.
But if you’re reading this post, you might also be facing a problem we at TrackStreet hear often: Your executive staff views brand protection only as a cost center. And for budget-conscious businesses, getting company buy-in for a new cost center can be challenging.
That means it’s up to you to demonstrate just how valuable safeguarding your brand’s value can be to your business’s bottom line.
So in this post, we’re going to give you a couple of tips to help you make the case to your senior leadership that, yes, implementing an intelligent brand protection strategy — complete with the right tools and technology — can save (and even make) your company far more money than it costs.
Present data showing how valuable positive customers review are (and how much negative ones can cost you)
As industry research demonstrates over and over, customer reviews online have an enormous impact on a company’s sales and the public’s perception of its brand.
Which means a central component of your brand protection strategy should be deploying an automated solution to help your company monitor the entire digital landscape for all reviews and star ratings of your products.
But how will you convince your executive staff that your company needs a system in place to monitor and respond to customer reviews? Show them the data on how significantly these reviews affect businesses’ brands and revenue.
According to data published by software-review company G2:
- Nearly 95% of consumers online read reviews before making a purchase.
- 97% of shoppers say reviews influence their buying decisions.
- 70% of consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a customer review.
And according to research cited in Business.com:
- Brands whose products have one negative review on a product-review site lose 22% of new potential customers — and nearly 60% if three negative reviews show up.
- Four or five negative reviews about your product can cost you 70% of new potential customers.
The right review tracking solution can serve three important functions for your brand protection efforts, all of which you should explain when making the case to your executive staff.
First, it will give your company up-to-the-minute visibility into how your customer reviews are trending across all digital marketplaces like Amazon and on all eCommerce websites.
Second, it can help your team quickly identify trends that could uncover systemic problems in your distribution channel. Flagging a term in reviews such as “late” or “damaged” can help you quickly trace the source of a problem with a distributor, retailer, or shipper before the problem leads to more unhappy customers and negative reviews.
You’ll also want to flag terms such as “quality,” “directions,” and “packaging,” because reviews containing words like these could give you clues that you have product quality issues, your owner’s manual or installation instructions are insufficient, or that customers are finding problems with your product’s packaging.
Third, it will help you more quickly respond directly to negative reviews — which, as the data above clearly show, can have a real effect on your bottom line.
Show them how many MAP violations your company is suffering now, and describe the damage it can cause
Let’s assume your company already has a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy in effect. (If you don’t, preparing such a policy should be your first step in your brand protection strategy.)
Without an automated solution to help you monitor and enforce the policy at all times, across the entire digital landscape, you can’t possibly catch all of the MAP violations to your products online, which can lead to all sorts of problems.
This is what you’ll want to articulate to the execs whose approval you need to sign up for an automated MAP monitoring and enforcement solution:
- Failure to aggressively enforce your MAP pricing, and to quickly force down sales listings and ads that violate those prices, can lead to online price erosion. Honorable retailers will see that sellers willing to cheat are able to get away with it, and soon you’ll have a price war — which will damage your brand.
- If your key resale partners, such as large brick-and-mortar retail chains, discover you’re allowing online sellers to violate your MAP policy, those all-important sellers might decide to stop carrying your products in their stores. That could cost you both new customers (who might never discover your brand unless they spot it in a store) and the credibility of having your products sold by a respected retailer.
- This downward spiral leading from an online price war will also make it more difficult to sign up new retail partners. Who will want to carry your inventory, after all, if they don’t believe you’ll protect their margins by enforcing your MAP policy?
Our advice for preparing this argument for your executive staff: Do some research online and compile a snapshot of the MAP violations you can find currently among your official resale partners and the unauthorized sellers also advertising your products at below-MAP prices.
Unfortunately, if your company is like most brands today, even a small amount of research will reveal many MAP violations against your brands online at any given moment.
And if you’re not sure how to best to compile evidence of MAP violations, let a TrackStreet brand protection expert do the heavy lifting for you.
Show your execs the growth opportunities available with the right brand protection strategy
It’s also worth making the case to your executives that deploying the right brand protection solution isn’t just about safeguarding your brand against reseller misconduct or bad customer reviews. It can also help your company identify new markets, new competitive opportunities, and the potential to expand your relationships with existing sellers.
You can explain to your execs, for example, that the right automated brand protection solution will include market visibility features that can help your company:
- Gain visibility into which of your resale partners are selling which of your products — and uncover opportunities to persuade them to expand their catalogs of your offerings.
- Monitor your competitors’ pricing and find opportunities to allow your retail partners to lower their prices to compete more aggressively.
- Find new marketplaces and retail sites where your competitors’ products are available but yours aren’t yet.
- Identify your most productive and lucrative retail partners, and create special rewards and incentives to keep them ringing up those sales.
Get help with your executive pitch from brand protection experts
Finally, if you want to persuade your executive staff to green-light a brand protection initiative, you don’t need to do it alone.
We at TrackStreet can help you pull together the data, arm you with the screen shots that let you show your senior leadership team what’s possible, help you prepare your pitch as effectively as possible. We’re here to help businesses like yours protect your brands. Let us help you get your execs onboard.