Some people may think that digital security is limited to protecting computers, machines and digital files that are in their company’s possession. Bad mistake! The concept is much more expansive than that, and even encompasses companies whose activities are unrelated to the Internet. One much-ignored but critically important concept in the competitiveness of any brand in today's world is digital presence—or more precisely, how to defend it.
To understand what digital presence is, we must remember that the consumer’s journey has changed. In times past, the ordinary consumer would see a product being advertised on TV (a moment known as "stimulus"), become interested in it, and go to the store to learn from a trained salesperson about its features. That second point of contact is known as the "first moment of truth." Satisfied with the demonstration at the gondola, the customer then buys the item and has the experience of using it; that’s called the "second moment of truth."
Now, however, we have a new step in the middle of the journey—a step found between the stimulus and the shelf. Today, consumers use the Internet to search for a specific model, read its reviews on journalistic sites, check for complaints on specialized pages, and use social networks to read other consumers' opinions about that product, brand or service.
Knowing this, criminals and web sharks try to butt in and steal the customer along the way, diverting him or her with advertisements, fake domains and pages, as well as via email or text messages.
Noise and risks along the consumer’s digital journey
Few companies can measure the extent of their digital presence, or footprint, over time. Lack of control over this spectrum can result in noise and disrupt the journey of the consumer, who wants to relate to the company through digital touchpoints.
Let's imagine, for example, that the “internaut” feels the need for a product or service and decides to look for a brand and model that meets that need, even without any prior stimulus. At that point, noise may arise, including:
- Similar domains that use typos of the original brand name, trying to divert the consumer to competing products on search engines. The first search result isn’t always the official page.
- Fraudulent ads that misuse your brand as a keyword to divert potential customers over to competing websites or to sites that capture leads.
- Fake profiles on social networks that mischaracterize information and give the customer a misleading message.
- Abusive emails, which can be sent by third parties as spam and create a negative image of your company. In some cases, they so pollute the channel that even the company’s official emails come to be labeled as spam, though they aren’t. This happens a lot with companies using affiliate programs that don’t respect the trademark usage code.
- The existence of fake addresses on Google Maps; these impact the millions of people who use navigation apps to get places. The customer may be seeking an address to find a certain brand, but ends up at the physical address of a competitor instead. To give you an idea, according to the Facebook
Transparency Report, the social network eliminated no fewer than 583 million fake pages and profiles just during the first quarter of 2018. This was a slightly lower number than the previous year, but still scary.
Regardless of the size your business, the Internet is crucial to your business strategy
What you need to understand is that your digital presence goes beyond the channels that you officially control. Your company may have only a simple website, yet someone may have created a malicious application, adopting your visual identity to harm users, or may be trying to hijack the value of your brand by improperly associating their site with your business. Likewise, fake coupons, phishing campaigns and price discrepancies in different sales channels also affect your marketing strategy and can create consumer distrust, leading them to choose your competitor.
Even small- and medium-sized local businesses that don’t want to be active on the web can suffer from such noise. Of the more than 4 billion Internet users we have around the world, 3.1 billion are active users of social networks. Even if you wanted to stay away from networks, which is difficult to do, someone could create a profile for you. Therefore you need to be in control of that digital point of contact.
In short, protecting your digital presence means monitoring all of your brand's Internet footprints, ensuring that there is no noise or threat to your target audience that could divert customers along their buying journey. This includes everything from precautions in your company's initial presentation to customer retention, ensuring that your data is properly protected against leaks. Remember: With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and similar regulations in parts of the United States as well as Brazil, ensuring the security of sensitive information is now a corporate obligation defined by law.
Monitoring and reacting proactively
The Axur One platform is composed of a series of solutions that monitor, analyze and react as quickly as possible to any noise that might compromise your brand in the virtual environment, including phishing pages, malware, trademark misuse, partner compliance issues, fake apps and piracy.
Today, using the strength of artificial intelligence, we protect the digital presence of 126 brands in a wide variety of sectors (banks, fintech, insurance, health, games, retail, e-commerce, commercial aviation, apparel and industry), resolving, on average, more than 12,000 incidents per month and 150,000 per year.
We have six different modules in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) model that can be contracted individually or together, according to your needs. Want to know more or have questions about the best plan for your business? Contact us and ask for a demonstration!