How do you manage your brand across a reseller, partner, agent or affiliate network?

16 Apr 2019

Managing your brand online can be challenging, but it’s particularly difficult when you don’t have complete control over the channels that are representing your brand. This is the case if you work with a partner or reseller network, a group of authorised vendors and agents, or even just affiliate marketing partners, who are promoting and selling your products and services. Are they representing your brand correctly? Is everything they are saying about your product correct? Are they using the right logo?  And what are they saying on their Facebook channel?

Brand management risks across a sales network

When your brand and your products aren’t represented properly and accurately it leads to issues. At best there may be minor operational matters, but at worst mispresenting your brand can be highly risky and lead to reputational damage. You may also be falling foul of sector-specific or country-level regulations.  

Scenarios that can prove particularly troublesome are:

  • When you’ve removed a vendor from your partner network, but they appear to still be promoting or offering your services on their digital footprint
  • When a reseller, affiliate or partner is using out of date, misleading or inaccurate language to describe your products and services
  • If a product has been recalled or withdrawn and there is a significant risk by presenting it for sale, and you need changes to happen fast
  • Where you’ve had a change in your products and service – from a logo change to a URL – how do you make sure this change is reflected in the channels run by your network
  • When there’s a regulatory change and you need to make sure  your products and services are presented in a different way, for example with a risk message attached
  • When a new reseller or partner joins your network and is just getting started and may not be accurately reflecting your brand
  • When you need to keep on top of the regular changes your sales network partners carry out across their multiple digital channels and let your management know, or an external third party, that every customer touch point relating to your brand is under control
  • If there is a violation of your brand standards and you need to take legal action, but don’t have the evidence to support your case. 

You may be covered contractually for all these scenarios, but sometimes issues occur accidentally or with a reseller who is just slow to update their own digital presence. For example, what happens if a partner within your network outsources their digital presence to a contractor? The degrees of separation between you and the resellers’ digital channels impact your ability to get urgent changes done quickly.

Perhaps most seriously your brand team or central digital teams are highly unlikely to have the capacity to effectively police all partner sites and channels on a regular basis. Your partner network may be local in your country, but it could also be global. In turn each reseller may have a website, a social media presence and even affiliate channels of their own. Unless you want a full-time team working on it, then it becomes extremely hard to check and ensure your brand and products are correctly represented.

How automation helps to protect the integrity of your brand 

Automation provides a solution that can help you manage your brand on digital channels that you don’t have full control over. It’s quicker, faster and more accurate and removes the “human limitations” associated with manual checking. Humans miss changes and simply can’t cope with the sheer volume of pages to check. 

Sitemorse is an automated product that helps you to:

  • Monitor the digital footprint of your agents on an ongoing basis 
  • Ensure any specific, required changes across your partner network are actioned
  • Take appropriate action against specific, troublesome parties and provide you with evidence when you need to take formal and even legal action

Monitoring the digital footprint

Using Sitemorse means you can define the specific criteria you want to test for and then apply this to any number of external web pages, social media and even PDFs hosted on websites across your partner network. It means you can far more effectively monitor the digital footprint of your entire partner or affiliate network. 

Ensure specific changes are actioned

When there is something not quite right such as the use of the wrong logo, an old brand description, the promotion of a product that has been withdrawn, an old URL to your website, the failure to add some text about risk to your product description or an ex-agent who is still presenting themselves as your partner, then you can get an automated alert and you can take the necessary action. 

You can also easily change the criteria for Sitemorse’s automated testing based on your operational needs so as you introduce new services or withdraw products you can also reflect this in your testing. This means automation can help support you with urgent changes such as product withdrawals, identifying anybody who hasn’t actioned this on their digital channels so you can then contact them directly. 

Act against specific parties

An automated solution like Sitemorse can also help when you need to act against a specific party – for example an ex-agent who continually refuses to comply with your demands to remove references to your products. In this case not only can you monitor any changes they need to make but with Sitemorse an archive of the web page, social media interaction and PDFs is stored from the time of assessment, providing robust evidence of the violation of the terms of any contract or agreement you have. 

This can help with any messages you (and your lawyers) need to send but also in potential evidence for any legal action. By having all the relevant content and facts it means you are in a position of strength. 

Protecting your brand

Brand management across external partners is time-consuming, tricky and sometimes delicate. Automated testing with a product like Sitemorse can help support you and allows you to keep on top of a complex and vast digital footprint managed my multiple third parties. In turn this helps you to protect your brand, reputation and your sales. 

If you’d like to discuss how Sitemorse can help to protect your brand, then get in touch!