A consulting firm that helps companies "manage their brand" is touting a new study where they're positively horrified to realize that most companies don't spend time embedding copyright info in their online images and then tracking that info online to make sure no one else ever uses them. This is an example of marketing thinking that misunderstands the internet. It's looking at things from a "how can we protect this brand" perspective, rather than a "how can we spread this brand" perspective. In the internet world, the second is much more important than the first. That isn't to say brand protection isn't important. Monitoring how others use your brand is obviously a part of brand management. However, wasting your time by embedding copyright info into your images, and worrying if anyone happens to use those images is a waste of time. Companies should be focused on spreading their brand message, and should be happy if others are making use of their brand images as it helps spread that brand further. The consulting firm seems to think that it's somehow possible to have full control of your brand online, but part of the joy of being online is learning that's simply not true -- and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The ease with which others can spread your brand is a benefit of the internet, and worrying about embedding info in graphics is a step in the wrong direction.
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