Why the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is a lesson in Brand Protection.
A brand is a promise of dependability, a promise of consistent quality.
The rapid proliferation of the internet and new platforms for producing and consuming content e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc., have increased the role of a brand as the torch bearer of the promise exponentially. As more and more people are accessing content and services online, more and more scammers are abusing brands to make a quick buck.
Let us understand the urgent need of brand infringement via the context of the famous story from Aesop's Fables - The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The Brand under threat
Even though there is no wolf, the boy cries wolf repeatedly thus creating a false situation, and in a way makes a false promise that the sheep are in danger from the wolf.
Fake websites use the brand elements of the brand and abuse the trademark of the business to make a false promise that they are THE authentic brand presence online.
The villagers believe the promise of the threat and run to help the boy and save the sheep but are cheated and the promise turns out to be false.
Every time a prospective customer comes across the fake website and loses money or gets cheated, her faith in the brand diminishes as the promise is untrue.
The wolf really comes to eat the sheep and the boy. The boy cries “Wolf”. This time the promise of the threat is real and imminent.
A prospective customer comes across the real website or an online advertisement, where the promise of quality is genuine.
Villagers ignore his pleas for help as they have lost faith in the promise.
The customer does not believe the website and the advertisement as they have lost faith in the brand and its promise.
The wolf eats the sheep and possibly the Boy.
The customers move to a competitor and the company loses a customer, for life.
Moral - Repeatedly making false promises, can get you in trouble.
Moral – Ignoring the threat of online brand threat can damage your brand and result in loss of customers.
Many businesses and brands believe that online infringement is not a concern for them since internet is not their primary channel of customer acquisition and hence, they need not worry about protecting the brand across online channels.
This is far from the truth!