Phishing: A Growing Threat

As the legitimacy of online content and messages becomes a growing question to consumers and influencers alike, cyber threats like phishing mimic typically reputable sources and add to the risk of trusting users online. Phishing is a form of online fraud in which users are tricked into trusting emails and messages that appear to be from reputable websites and companies. Phishing fraud scams are on a steady rise and in 2017 over 90% of information breaches included a phishing aspect. This should become a concern to brands in maintaining their validity online especially when it comes to interacting with talent and influencers online. Similarly,  phishing sets back company efforts at maintaining good customer relationships as it misleads consumers regarding the company’s practices. 

Email marketing is especially important as the transition to remote operations means that the ways in which companies engage audiences online is a priority. There are risks to reaching out to talent and growing influencers on public platforms as you may not reach them or you may be opening up the possibility of a third party mimicking your format. For instance, Google claimed to be blocking 18 million malicious and phishing emails with coronavirus lures every day . Every single day there are millions of online communication methods meant to steal information and break the trust with the consumer. 

In the age of rapid misinformation it can be difficult to market your brand when there are so many sophisticated replicas of email marketing campaigns meant to lure unsuspecting users. Now, more than ever, there is a growing demand for online trust and credibility. A recent study conducted by the world’s largest personal relations  firm, Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report , reported that consumers ranked trust as the top factor before making a purchase decision.  Phishing breaks the trust and also works to delegitimize your brand before the public. New Research from Return Path, discusses the consequences of phishing for brands.


Phishing damages engagement. Subscribers are less likely to trust a brand following a phishing attack. The report finds that when negatively impacted, average read rates dropped by up to 18 percentage points at Gmail and 11 percentage points at Yahoo.          Phishing impacts deliverability. Following a phishing attack, mailbox providers are more likely to flag legitimate email as spam. Research shows that when negatively impacted, average inbox placement rates dropped by up to 10 percentage points at Gmail and 7 percentage points at Yahoo.” 


The decline in engagement after a phishing security breach can lead to delegitimization in the eyes of the public, but also a hesitation on an influencer’s behalf when considering a brand partnership. The effects are disastrous, but they don’t necessarily mean that communication online is completely unreliable. The issue simply suggests the need for a more secure way of approaching people online. The magnitude of the internet makes everything more accessible, but the excess of users makes it difficult to trust anyone online.

The SwayBrand platform creates a space meant to connect multicultural talent and brands while establishing a line of trusted communication. The platform is a secure space for approaching talent that avoids the untrustworthy nature of huge platforms and increases the likelihood of a response. Similarly, the platform harvests the power of a regulated online  community meant specifically for certain groups to communicate directly.  

The need for exclusivity in online communities and a “quality not quantity’ approach remains pertinent as communication becomes strained with the fear of threats. There is a relevance to a different approach to contacting talent as a brand from the safety of a secure platform. The platform would provide an alternative to the oversaturated nature of many of these huge platforms prone to multi-scaled threats.  The threat of phishing is much larger than security breaches, but it threatens the trust that has been earned by companies through a range of efforts from all levels. 

For more information about SwayBrand, contact Cat Munoz at