Tue 8th Nov 2016
NI legal toolbox is stronger than GB to protect digital brand
Pinsent Masons Partner Laura Gillespie and Senior Associate James Griffiths join NI Chamber of Commerce & Industry Chief Executive Ann McGregor at the ‘Protecting Your Brand in a Digital World’ seminar.
Organisations in Northern Ireland have better legal tools to protect their online reputation than other UK counterparts – that was the message for over 70 senior business executives at a NI Chamber of Commerce & Industry seminar.
With disgruntled customers, action groups, rogue employees and competitors all having an online voice, organisations who find themselves the subject of twitter storms, copy-cat brands or online petitions can easily feel overwhelmed.
In partnership with international law firm Pinsent Masons, NI Chamber members learned how to protect their online reputation, experiencing simulated threats via a number of realistic scenarios.
The event was a demonstration of the legal toolbox businesses have at their disposal, using the laws of defamation, intellectual property and confidentiality to take back control in the face of these modern threats. Delegates learned that rather than feeling powerless, Northern Ireland businesses in fact have a stronger position from which defend many of these issues than counterparts in the rest of the UK.
James Griffiths, Senior Associate at Pinsent Masons explained;
“Whether actively engaging with customers through social media, or dealing with criticism online, it is crucial that businesses are aware of their legal rights and obligations. This is particularly important in Northern Ireland, as the Defamation Act 2013, which now requires that corporates claiming defamation in England and Wales must produce evidence of serious financial loss, controversially has not been enacted here. As plaintiffs in Northern Ireland don’t have to overcome this bar, it is more straightforward for businesses to take action against unfair and inaccurate content online compared to counterparts in Great Britain. Therefore companies should have a legal and PR action plan ready to be deployed in order to respond quickly to threats to corporate reputation online.”
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said;
“Businesses and people are increasingly adopting internet applications as part of their daily life. Social media sites, in particular, have gained huge popularity among the public and many companies have adapted their marketing strategies towards being active in the social media sphere. However, the development of social media and the use of the web as a communication platform has made companies vulnerable to negative publicity which can endanger their reputation. Bad reviews, malicious comments and mis-judged social media posts can all damage a firm’s digital reputation and commercial value. It is therefore vital for companies to manage their online reputation as failing to do so can have serious consequences. In business, reputation is an asset worth protecting.”
Organisations who want to learn more about how to protect their brand can visit www.out-law-reputation-management.co.uk for helpful guidance and resources.