By Mark Barrett

There are few marketing tools more powerful to a global brand than a unique and identifiable logo. In the digital age, a logo is often the first thing a customer sees when visiting your website, tapping a mobile app, or visiting your social media profile. The flipside, however, is that a logo can be so influential that works as an effective tool for those looking to cause damage to your brand’s reputation.

Logo distribution websites

Brand logos are, of course, much more than just an image—they’re an identity. In a world of increasingly sophisticated attempts at online fraud, it’s important to take measures that ensure your brand doesn’t become an easy target. Even high quality vector logos are readily available for download on numerous logo catalogue websites. This makes them easily accessible for cyber criminals looking to construct a sophisticated phishing attack. By using existing legislation, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), brand owners can take action against the unauthorized distribution of their logo and reduce the risk that high resolution downloads could be used in the construction of fraudulent websites or emails.

Brand guidelines

Rebranding campaigns can often require a large investment in both human and financial capital.In 2000, British Petroleum unveiled their new “Helios” logo, which was the result of a project costing a total of $211 million. With many global brands investing heavily in worldwide marketing, it’s no surprise that many choose to impose guidelines on how their logo must be used by third parties. It’s quite common that organizations will want to showcase their client portfolio and other affiliations online, particularly when working with businesses who possess an international presence.

There’s no guarantee, however, that third parties will stick to—or in some cases, even be aware of—the brand usage guidelines for the businesses they feature. This can result in the use of out-of-date or, in some cases, modified logos, resulting in a degraded image of your brand. That diminishes your return on investment from a corporate marketing or rebranding campaign perspective.

Logo abuse

The internet provides a global stage to those looking to discredit your brand. Abusing a logo can be one of the most striking ways for groups launching boycotts and petitions to disparage your corporate reputation. Fortune 500® companies have historically been some of the most targeted brands when it comes to online logo abuse, although businesses of any size can find their image being targeted.Negative press and rumors of corporate scandals can lead to third-party groups or individuals creating modified and abused versions of a logo. These aim to criticize and damage a brand in conjunction with an ongoing news story.

Competitor issues

Western brands are increasingly finding themselves being targeted by unlawful competition practices in China and the Far East. In October 2018, the luxury British menswear brand Alfred Dunhill won a case against “Danhuoli” which, by operating via a shadow company in Hong Kong, had opened a total of 200 franchise stores across China. The Chinese brand had been using a logo clearly resembled the British label, using a nearly identical font and design that mimicked the same distinctive aspects of the Dunhill brand. The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court ultimately ruled in Dunhill’s favor, awarding $1.47 million in compensation. Dunhill is not the first Western brand to take legal action against a Chinese competitor abusing their trademark; Under Armour won a similar case in 2017 against “Uncle Martian,” which was ordered to destroy all infringing goods and pay nearly $300,000 in damages to the U.S. sportswear manufacturer.

Brand logos are powerful marketing tools, but also provide effective ways for third parties to damage your reputation. To make sure your brand’s identity is used in a way that promotes your corporate message and reduces external risks, it’s important to have an effective solution in place to identify logo abuse and take action to enforce your intellectual property rights.

>> Learn more about how CSC can help protect your logo and brand, or request a free consultation from one of our experts.



Brand Logos: How is Your Identity Being Used Online?