Conducting business anyplace can be risky, but the Internet presents unique problems for the faint-of-heart. Look no farther than intellectual property, a phrase that conjures the image of closely guarded corporate secrets reluctantly shared with trading partners and top customers. Are you comfortable about placing the names, addresses and buying preferences of your top customers into an application on your (secure) Web site?
But, wait-before you answer: Are you comfortable placing something as mundane as your corporate logo on your Web site? Most would say, "Of course." After all, a logo isn't worrisome if it gets into the wrong hands, right?
As our NetMarketing package in this issue makes clear, your brand identity ought to be guarded at least as aggressively as that customer list.
"Integrity of their brand" is what marketers are most concerned about when it comes to protecting online property rights, Jay Gast, president of Thomson & Thomson North America tells us in a Q&A on Page 26. Along with licensing and compliance, there are issues of infringement and downright "tarnishment" of a brand by nefarious people and Web sites, he explains.
On the other hand-and on the very same page-columnist Eric Ward argues convincingly that every business' Web site needs a public relations area providing all logos, brochures and offline collateral, in both text and PDF format, and at "multiple resolutions suitable for use in printed publications."
What's a marketing manager to do?
Step One is to be vigilant about protecting your company's brand by monitoring, either manually with search engines or via one of the many service companies that do the patrolling for you. Lawyers will tell you that IP infractions that are not responded to in a timely fashion will weaken your case when you get around to trying to enforce your rights.
And if this weren't taxing enough, there is a school of thought that holds IP abuses can be the first step toward deal-making and forging revenue-producing partnerships. Call it after-the-fact viral marketing.
Best & brightest strategists
Our Special Report in this issue of BtoB recognizes nine individuals and one dynamic duo for our annual list of the Best & Brightest Media Strategists in the b-to-b space. These outstanding media planners form a talented group that has orchestrated winning interactive campaigns in the past year using a combination of traditional offline techniques and online approaches.
In addition, we've singled out one veteran, Nasreen Madhany, who was recently promoted to worldwide media director of OglivyOne but still manages IBM Corp.'s media efforts, and two up-and-coming entrepreneurial partners who are taking their company, Mass Transit Interactive, to new heights in the New York advertising scene.
BtoB editors selected this year's honorees from a crop of top nominees. Their stories make interesting reading and contain gems for marketers, such as how Doug Powell, media director at boutique agency Tonic 360, was able to win a big-name account like Sun Microsystems Inc.