INTA Leadership Meeting Spotlights Brand Enforcement in the Social Media Space

social media risksNot surprisingly, one of the issues discussed during INTA leadership meeting in Miami was the (optimum level of) enforcement of brands in the social media space.   This topic was most prominently discussed during the session “Faster than the Speed of Light: Keeping Up with Internet Developments”. The diverse group of panelists for this session included representatives from Twitter, Anheuser-Busch, Discovery Communications, and the law firm Fenwick & West LLP.

One of the areas my clients are focusing attention on recently is the presence of their brands on Twitter.   At the session, Twitter’s Christine Kao indicated that Twitter receives more than 50 intellectual property complaints per day, so it seems this concern is widespread.  Christine stated that her team responds as quickly as possible, and on a first come first served basis to the notifications they receive.  Her recommendation to brand owners, wanting to see violations removed as quickly as possible is:

  • Take time to understand Twitter’s criteria for violations.  Twitter has a trademark policy, a counterfeit policy, a DMCA policy and an impersonation policy, and it is important for brand owners to figure out where to file under

  • Provide as much information to Twitter as possible

  • Set client expectations, as each social media platform has their own policies

  • and brand owners need to play by their rules

  • Don’t file duplicate complaints – give it time – as new complaints go to the bottom of the list

  • Being respectful helps!


Christine had this additional advice for brand owners:

  • Think strategically.  Users in social media are often fans, and users see notifications as bullying.  Is this the proper medium for a takedown?

  • Be mindful of the language you use

  • Pick a Plan B user name.  User name are issued on a first come first served basis


Philippe Vandeuren, Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A.indicated his belief that it was vital these days for organizations to have a social media crisis management team in place.  His recommendations were to:

  • Create a team with the right people in the right place, and ensure they know who is responsible for what.  The team needs to be cross-functional, so that the expertise of many within the organization can be drawn upon

  • Understand, categorize and summarize the facts of the issue at hand (brand, product, reputation, geography)

  • Assign issues with a severity level.   For high level severity issues it is important to act immediately and try to have the facts rectified.  For medium level severity issues, actions should be taken to deflect the issue, and for low level severity issues  it is recommended that posts be monitored to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate

  • Lots of discussion should be taking place amongst the crisis team members when an issue arises

  • In cases where the issue is highly negative escalate the issue internally so that upper management is aware

  • Move issues offline.  Contact the posters via email to have a closed off conversation

I am glad to say that a lot of this advice is second nature to many of my clients who have put these cross-functional teams in place a long time ago (many soon after they began their engagement with BrandProtect!).

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