While the online world can be invaluable for brand building, it can also present risks to brand reputation. Global organizations from Fortune 500 to small businesses can increasingly benefit from open-source intelligence (OSINT) to monitor and protect one of their single biggest assets – their brand.
An organization’s brand, reputation, and proprietary information are vital competitive differentiators and need ongoing, diligent protection. According to the World Economic Forum, a quarter of an organization’s market value is directly related to its reputation. Poor brand management can lead to large losses in revenue that can be difficult or even impossible to recover from.
The nature of online environments and social media platforms present a minefield for global brands, with the potential for negative sentiment or sensitive information about companies and their brands to be spread virally, presenting a very real and ongoing risk. OSINT and specifically SOCMINT are essential tools to ensure brand protection.
Some of the risks to brand protection that organizations need to be aware of, and that OSINT can monitor and detect include:
- Brandjacking – the act of an adversary masquerading as a company to obtain business equity.
- Smearing – when a party is actively engaged in negatively impacting brand reputation.
- Intellectual Property (IP) theft – when a company has commercial secrets, data or proprietary information stolen. The goal of the thief is to recreate a product or service cheaper or have a destabilizing impact on the market.
All three brand reputation risks, if not discovered and mitigated early, can result in the development of poor reputation, destroying consumer, partner, and employee confidence in a brand and subsequent loss of revenue. When a company is not tracking the wave of public perception of a brand, the potential for viral negative information sharing and devastating revenue loss increases.
As the vast avenues of public discussion on the internet continue to grow, the task of managing brand image, public reputation and intellectual property leaks has grown beyond the capabilities of manual methods. Businesses are challenged by the sheer volume of data available online, finding the right information, verifying it and seeing the signals within the noise. The use of an Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) tool enhances the ability to monitor and defend brands against bad actors. Investigative tools can provide automated and targeted data collection and risk analytics to speed up investigations, keeping organizations ahead of the brand threat.
OSINT PROVIDING TARGETED DATA COLLECTION FOR BRAND PROTECTION
Persistent, ongoing, and repeatable data collection from across the Surface, Deep and Dark Web keeps organizations abreast of real-time conversations regarding their brand. IP theft and sale of business data is prevalent on the less frequented areas of the internet, making dark web monitoring vital in securing IP and other assets. Secure access and monitoring across the web accelerates threat detection, bringing potential threats to the forefront of an investigation.
While manual collection or purchasing bulk data can provide insight into the public chatter surrounding a company and its brands, often these intelligence collection methods are too slow, giving harmful information the chance to circulate virally. As can be seen in the viral Wayfair human trafficking conspiracy theory, identifying harmful disinformation circulating on the Dark Web or niche online platforms before it is widespread could alleviate some of the damage to the brand. Dark Web monitoring is also vital to securing intellectual property and other assets with IP theft and the sale of business data prevalent on the less frequented areas of the internet.
ADVANCED RISK DETECTION TO UNCOVER THREATS TO BRANDS
Positioning a company’s response proactively can be difficult when collection methods are slow and cumbersome. Searching through vast quantities of information manually can be daunting and easily leads to overloading and human error. This is why automated flagging of the relevant social media intelligence is paramount. AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning)-powered advanced analytics provides brand management teams with a robust risk detection framework that can be customized to detect threats specific to an organization.
Important intelligence lives not just in text, but also in graphics and multimedia. Configurable logo detection and image analysis cuts down on investigation time and gives organizations the opportunity to respond quickly to damaging image usage, fraudulent products, erroneous reviews, or gossip.
Further, sentiment and emotion analysis enables brand management teams to track changes in sentiment towards a brand over time to easily detect online threats that can be the most damaging to operations.
Fivecast ONYX deploys advanced data collection and AI-enabled risk analytics to rapidly identify threats hidden in masses of digital data. Fivecast ONYX’s automated, repeatable, and ongoing risk assessment framework can be customized to detect brand protection issues and IP theft before they happen, helping corporate intelligence teams protect the workplace, employees, and the business.