How can social media affect your IP strategy?

Nowadays, engaging customers with your digital brand is essential. But protecting your intellectual property online is harder with increased engagement.

With more business and customer engagement done online than ever before, Australian enterprises are entering a new era. Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) and branding has never been more contested, with digital platforms allowing unparalleled and unrestricted access to engage with brands.

For businesses unaware of the power of online user engagement with your brand, it's important to see how social media can influence your marketing choices and affect your IP protection strategy.

If your social media strategy is wrong, this can encourage customer engagement that can be harmful to your business' IP.

Having the right customer engagement

Businesses need to be wary about the kinds of IP information they release on social media, as unappealing or irrelevant content was noted as the two factors most reported to decrease engagement or garner negative feedback according to the Sensis Social Media Report for 2017.

If businesses get their social media marketing wrong, this can lead to customer engagement that can be detrimental to the IP or branding of your business.

For example, earlier in the year American fast food franchise Wendy's uploaded an image of branded menu items. Users engaged the post with a barrage of negative feedback, with multiple customer replies containing crudely edited versions of the original photo.

This negative feedback is the risk a business takes by displaying branding online. It can lead to potential misuse or abuse, even if individuals have no intent to use your brand for personal gain.

How you use your social media can affect the kinds of customer engagement you get - negative interactions can be damaging to your business' intellectual property. How you use your social media can affect the kinds of customer engagement you get – negative interactions can be damaging to your business' intellectual property. 

Using images wisely

Using social media is a great way to promote the launch of a new product or business design. However, you have to be careful how you use social media to promote your launch, else you could end up doing damage to your own IP integrity.

For example, if you intend to launch a unique product in your market, it makes sense to keep the product's details under wraps until you have secured definite design or patent rights to protect it. If you release a promotional social photo or video online before you have secured IP protection, competitors are free to copy this design for their own gain.

Beware the hashtag

One mistake Australian businesses can make is using hashtags as part of branding they intend to trade mark. Hashtags are considered a de facto part of social media, and as such aren't considered to be trademarkable for any one brand.

It is only everything after the hashtag that is considered in a trade mark application – so you need to make sure your message is unique in of itself.

For more information on how to address your business' IP issues, contact the team at Alder IP today.