A businesses' brand is one of its most important assets. While it is sometimes defined as the reputation of the business and its owners, it is more all-encompassing than that. The brand is how the business acts, its attitude, its feel, and how others perceive it.
Everything that the business does can protect or tarnish its brand.
Protecting Your Company's Brand Online
One of the most obvious and apparent issues regarding a company's brand is how its customers and clients perceive it online. This includes everything from:
- Online ratings on sites like Google or Yelp
- Its score on the Massachusetts Better Business Bureau
- How people talk about your company on social media
- Customer complaints
Bad online reviews create the perception that your company is unreliable, while bad press coverage can make it seem like your business is cutting corners. This can tarnish your company's brand, which can deter customers and clients from dealing with your business in the future.
Protecting your firm's brand involves closely monitoring how people interact with it and how they treat it on the internet. If someone makes a false statement of fact that hurt your business' reputation, it can rise to the level of internet defamation. Taking appropriate legal action may be necessary.
The lawyers at the Katz Law Group can help.
In many cases, these issues can be resolved with a cease and desist letter. The threat of legal action is often enough to make people retract their defamatory statement. If this does not resolve the issue – something that tends to happen when the statement is being made by a business competitor – our lawyers can help business owners:
- Remove defamatory online reviews
- Take down defamatory social media posts
- Hide defamation in search engines results pages
- Remove damaging information in news articles
In some cases, the victim business owner may be entitled to monetary damages for the harm they have suffered to their brand and reputation.
Protecting Your Company's Brand With Contracts
A less apparent, but perhaps more important, threat to your business' brand is how well the business' interests are protected contractually. Businesses that play fast and loose with their contracts and agreements today tend to face legal issues tomorrow. Those legal issues can cause drastic and lasting damage to your company's brand.
Take, for example, a retail business that makes an oral agreement with a vendor to buy over $500 in inventory on a weekly basis. The vendor then goes out of business, breaching the contract and leaving the retail store without inventory to sell. In the subsequent vendor dispute, the vendor points out that the original agreement was void because it did not comply with the Massachusetts Statute of Frauds. The retail business now has no inventory and no recourse against the vendor.
The fallout from this situation will seriously hurt the business' brand. Customers will only see the empty shelves. Other businesses will only see the retailer filing a desperate lawsuit against a closing business. Still other business may see the retailer's lack of sophistication and either have second thoughts about dealing with it or try to exploit it with bad offers in the future.
How can a company avoid all of these repercussions and harm to its brand? By using effective and legally enforceable contracts that protect the business' interests. Adopting a practice of solid contract work now can avoid the kinds of situations that tarnish a company's brand in the future.
Protecting Your Company's Brand in the Business World
A company's reputation in the larger business community is an incredibly powerful asset. When other companies see a particular business as poorly-run, untrustworthy, incompetent, or dangerous to do business with, is can seriously hurt that company's ability to function.
Protecting a business' brand in its interactions with others in the business world is essential. Our attorneys can help.
Unfair trade practices is one way for a business' brand to suffer. If the business operates unfairly or deceptively, it can lead to a Chapter 93A demand letter from a client, customer, or from another business. If not handled correctly, this demand letter can spawn litigation that puts information into the public domain that hurts the business' brand. But a company's brand can also suffer if the company gets a reputation for groundlessly filing Chapter 93A complaints against competitors. Knowing your rights under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Law is essential for prudent business conduct that builds your company's brand, rather than undermines it.
Another way for a company's brand to suffer is in real estate litigation. Many companies, especially small businesses, rent their business premises from a commercial landlord. If there is a commercial lease dispute, how the company handles itself can build or tarnish its brand. Getting evicted for failing to pay rent or breaking the commercial lease without warning can hurt the reputations of the business and the business owner and harm the company's brand.
Protecting Your Company's Brand as an Employer
Even how the company handles its employees can impact its branding. Manipulating Massachusetts employment law by, for example, misclassifying employees as independent contractors or aggressively disputing employment contracts can hurt morale in the workplace, and can create a bad reputation in the community. Workers talk, and if what they say about their time on the job is all negative, it will undercut the company's brand, make it more difficult for the company to hire skilled workers, and may even taint the business in the eyes of the consumer.
The Katz Law Group: Effective Business Lawyers Serving Massachusetts
The concept of a business' brand is amorphous and difficult to put into precise terminology. Similarly, the process of protecting that brand encompasses a huge spectrum of conduct, up to and including legal action.
The lawyers at the Katz Law Group have nearly 40 years of experience helping businesses grow and thrive in central Massachusetts. Contact them online or call their office at (508) 480-8202 for your company's litigation and transactional needs.