[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest post by David Bitton, Product Manager at Webhose.io]
Organizations should never underestimate the power of their brand. What starts out as a name, logo, vision, mission statement, website, and perhaps a few employees start to form an organization’s identity. As an organization grows, all of these key parts evolve over time to help customers identify the brand.
But a brand is more than its identity. A brand should evoke emotion from its customers – ideally a positive one – creating brand loyalty and repeat purchases of its goods or products. Loyal customers also refer the brand to friends, family, and acquaintances.
In today’s digital age, building and maintaining a strong brand is so important that brand monitoring plays a crucial role in organizations’ marketing strategy. However, with the rise of the dark web, brand monitoring has evolved to now include Digital Risk Protection. DRP protects the brand’s digital assets from various malicious actors intent on causing the brand and its reputation significant damage.
The Role of Open Web Data in Brand Monitoring
Traditionally, brand monitoring tracked mentions on the open web, which included social media monitoring as well as additional data points on the internet such as forums, discussions, news, and blogs.
As social media grew in popularity, many social media intelligence platforms exploded. These social media tools incorporated open web monitoring as well to deliver comprehensive brand monitoring to their customers. (It’s a smart move considering that the market for media monitoring tools is expected to exceed $6 billion by 2027).
But having the ability to continuously monitor what the internet says about hundreds of products or brands is no small feat.
The Major Challenges of Monitoring Open Web Data
First, there’s the sheer volume of data on the web. Getting access to comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding data on the web can be challenging at best. Web crawlers must offer comprehensive coverage that includes the ability to add new sources to their crawling quickly.
Second, up to 80% of web data is unstructured and complex. That means that reliable brand monitoring includes access to a web crawler that can index millions of web pages daily, extracting raw data into structured, inferred, and enriched layers of information. This processes the data into a machine-readable format for deeper analysis and insights.
Finally, media monitoring companies must also be able to quickly identify the most relevant data about their customers and brands. That includes filtering news, blogs, reviews, or discussions according to sentiment, social post shares, and number of mentions to provide a measure of popularity. Only after the data is collected, structured, and filtered can an organization start gaining insights as to what people are saying about the brand, the competition, and products.
For organizations who want NLP-enriched data, Webhose has integrated MeaningCloud’s text analytics that includes deep semantic analytics for topics extraction, summarization, and sentiment analysis. With the help of MeaningCloud, Webhose’s Enriched News API delivers greater context behind news articles to customers for brand monitoring purposes.
The New Role of Dark Web Data in Brand Protection
Soon after the rise of the dark web in 2000, the landscape for brand monitoring shifted dramatically. Even though the dark web originally developed as an anonymous space for the free expression of journalists and citizens of oppressed regimes, it wasn’t long before cybercriminals realized the opportunity it held for them as well. These threat actors quickly started to attack websites, leak customer account data, and threaten the digital assets of big brands in almost every industry.
Suddenly, new cybersecurity risks emerged. Phishing, cloud-based attacks, ransomware, social engineering, smart device attacks now pose a constant threat to brands and their reputations. Even physical threats are directed at public figures and top executives of Fortune 500 companies and published in various dark web marketplaces, sites, and forums. As a result, digital risk protection is a new field that now encompasses brand monitoring to mitigate attacks to brands in the digital space – including both the open and dark web.
The Shift to Brand Protection
Brands today face constant digital threats to their website, goods, products, and reputation – and even their executives. Threat actors who succeed in selling counterfeit goods, executing phishing attacks, leaking databases and account information, and more damage even the most established brands. As a result, another shift has occurred. Traditional brand monitoring is now slowly evolving into digital risk protection (DRP). Effective DRP starts with comprehensive coverage of a wide range of sources from the open and dark web. With this strong foundation, it can help detect threats in advance and respond to them immediately to mitigate any future damage to brands.