Consumers rely on trust to cultivate and sustain relationships with Canadian companies now more than ever. Protecting the digital identity of your business is crucial to maintaining that trust.
According to a recent Deloitte white paper, 85% of Canadians said they were “very or fairly likely to sever an existing relationship with an organization if it does something that negatively impacts trust.”
Trust is especially critical as more customers shop and spend online.
In 2019, 80% of online Canadian shoppers collectively spent more than $65 billion.
For companies, the priority of trust paired with the ongoing trend toward eCommerce initiatives offers a massive market opportunity.
However, in order to bolster consumer confidence and drive online sales, companies can’t leave defense of their online identity to chance.
Here are five proactive steps you can take to help protect your company’s online identity.
1. Authenticate your digital identity
Business names matter. The best names are easy to remember, simple to say and clearly connect what you do with who you are.
And while not every Canadian company can have a stand-out moniker, whatever name you choose becomes indelibly associated with your brand — as long as you’ve done the legwork.
In practice, this means authenticating both your brick-and-mortar and online identity by properly registering your business name. Here’s how to get started:
Select your business name
Make sure the name you want — even if you’ve been using it for months or years — is available. Start with the Government of Canada’s Nuans corporate name and trademark searching service to find names that are both identical and similar to the one used by your business.
Register and make it official
If the name is available, your next step is registration in your province of primary operation, which will cover any physical locations you operate along with your online presence. This is worth noting if you expand into other provinces or territories. It’s a good idea to register your company name in each one where your business operates.
2. Streamline security operations
As Canadian businesses make the shift to online operations, the volume of stored customer and corporate data online is rapidly increasing.
Meanwhile, malicious actors are also aware of this uptick and are actively looking for ways to compromise corporate security and exfiltrate protected information.
One study found that Canada ranks third in the world for total number of business cyberattacks per year.
To ensure data pertaining to customer accounts, purchase histories and digital identities remains secure, it’s now critical to bolster security with robust, third-party tools such as GoDaddy’s Website Security suite.
These tools are capable of detecting, identifying and eliminating potential digital threats before they compromise key systems of your company’s digital identity.
3. Prioritize superior service
With products and services now reaching market parity, customer service is what sets companies apart.
According to the PWC 2019 Canadian Consumer Insights Survey, businesses must “focus on ‘magic moments’ with customers to create loyalty and build a relationship over time.”
But prioritizing the customer experience also has a knock-on effect for Canadian businesses -- one that consists of a more defensible digital identity.
If you put the time and effort into building a unique customer experience, buyers are better able to identify your brand in a sea of online imitators.
These experiences are based on data provided by the customer, along with collected purchasing and service history.
By standing out from the crowd and cultivating long-term relationships, it’s possible to develop natural defenses against copycats and others who might seek to co-opt your digital identity.
4. Cultivate consistency in your online identity
Traditional marketing and sales techniques aren’t enough to drive consistent online sales.
Along with familiar email advertisements and data-driven marketing promotions, Canadian consumers want the ability to interact with their preferred brands across social media channels
In fact, 70 percent of online users follow at least one brand on social media.
This social connectivity takes the form of scheduled posts and regular updates showcasing your latest product development or service innovation. Let’s take a quick look at how social connectivity can impact your business in both a positive and negative light.
Successful social efforts require ongoing interactions between your customer service team and your customer base. Done well, buyers start to feel like they “know” your company and their trust in your brand begins to grow.
If social interactions sour, your reputation could be permanently damaged. This is especially worrisome in evolving online environments that make it difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction.
To defend your digital identity against social sabotage, it’s critical to cultivate consistency. It’s worth it to create a roadmap that covers:
- Brand voice
- Target customer base
Then, assign the task of social media management to a dedicated internal staff member or a reputable outside firm. This ensures continuity across your social media environment and makes it easier to pinpoint imposter posts from potential hackers.
5. Diversify your domain name holdings
For most companies, the move to online operations comes with a predictable purchase: Their .com domain name. It makes sense — the .com suffix is among the world’s most recognizable and conveys a sense of corporate stability to potential visitors.
When it comes to protecting your online identity, however, buying .com domains is only half the battle.
Your best bet is to find and purchase your preferred domain as both a .com and for the domain country code where you primarily operate.
In Canada, this means buying the .ca version of your ideal domain name as soon as possible, along with any very close variants of your company’s name. So, for example, if you have been using smith.com for your business website, you would also try to register smith.ca as well.
Why this matters
While it’s possible to skip this step and rely on the familiarity of .com domains alone to carry your eCommerce business, this presents two possible risks:
- First, you may discover that your .ca domain name has been purchased by someone else and advertises similar goods and services to your own. So long as your prospective competition isn’t using your name or logo, there’s little you can do to stop them.
- You may also find that after a period of sustained growth, an enterprising entrepreneur has purchased your preferred .ca name. This doesn’t necessarily mean they want to copy your eCommerce offerings, but rather sell you the domain name at a substantially inflated price.
To solve this domain dilemma and defend your digital identity, find your Canadian country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) and purchase it ASAP from a reputable .ca domain registrar like GoDaddy.
Be proactive with safeguarding your digital identity
In the expanding Canadian eCommerce market, your company’s digital identity matters more than ever. Don’t leave it to chance!
Defend your online identity by taking steps toward securing it. It’s worth the investment to be proactive against cyber attacks, malicious actors, or copycat website imposters.
Remember, consumers value trust. If your website is under attack, it could be detrimental to your reputation.
Protecting your business name and taking care of important customer data will help secure your reputation as a top-notch brand people are willing to buy from.