It’s easier to destroy a brand reputation than build it in the context of today’s digital realm. While technology has eased the way people do business, it has also provided nefarious actors with the tools to commit cybercrime.

Cyber attacks result in financial and reputational damage that businesses may never recover from. Without a well-planned and documented reputation management program, businesses remain at risk. Below are our top 4 tips on keeping a close eye on your brand reputation.

Audit search results that pertain to your brand

What comes up in search engine results pages (SERPs) speak volumes about your brand. SERPs are like oracles; they reveal “hidden” information that customers search for based on changing algorithms. Unfortunately, the results can be manipulated using whitehat or blackhat search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

The clickthrough rate for top links with high-positioned SERPs is drastically higher. But that is only good for those whose brands are painted in a positive light. Note, however, that spammy sites, unflattering news, and defamatory opinion pieces also figure in SERPs.

Auditing search results point organizations toward published materials that are detrimental to their brands. Through this method, they can devise a solution that’s aligned with their crisis management strategies.

Another way to ensure that you don’t commit SERP violations is by continually monitoring your domain reputation. Staying well within an acceptable range of domain reputation scores would lessen your organization’s chances of ending up in search engines’ blacklists.

Improve your products and services

Make brand evangelists out of your customers. Happy customers are the most engaged, which equates to more sales. Surveys or focus group discussions (FGDs) are traditional ways by which you can gauge consumer sentiment. Digital marketing tools, on the other hand, provide you with more precise and real-time insights about your demographics. IP geolocation tools can also be useful to identify where your most loyal customers come from.

Track copycat domains and websites

In marketing parlance, copycat brands include those that ride on your popularity and imitate your products and services. These brands steal away your customers and income even if some do it legally.

Cybercriminals share the same qualities as copycat brands, except for their illegal objectives. They use lookalike email addresses, domains, and websites to trick your customers into buying counterfeit products or sharing sensitive information with them.

Using a brand monitoring tool that automatically generates a list of misspelled versions of your brand can be a useful tool in spotting trademark violators, phishers, and cybersquatters. By warning your customers about potentially harmful sites that could be taking advantage of your brand, you are ensuring their safety and, therefore, loyalty.

Keep an eye out for spam and phishing emails

Threat actors use email as a primary attack vector. Fraudsters impersonate brands through phishing emails to dupe unknowing victims to share passwords and financial information with them.

Install security software on endpoints such as laptops and mobile phones as an added countermeasure against cyber attacks. Email verification solutions, for instance, can help prevent employees from accidentally replying to or clicking links embedded in unsafe emails. They also prevent email misdirection—a major culprit for data loss.

Companies should employ a multipronged approach when protecting their brand reputation. Reinforcing the security of your network and brand assets through a combination of advanced cybersecurity and digital marketing tools can help you uncover brand abuse as it happens.

About the Author

Jonathan Zhang is the founder and CEO of Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)—a data, tool, and API provider that specializes in automated threat detection, security analysis, and threat intelligence solutions for Fortune 1000 and cybersecurity companies. TIP is part of the Whois XML API family, a trusted intelligence vendor by over 50,000 clients.