Internet consumers often cannot spot counterfeits among the real thing. Raising their awareness of the situation is a giant step toward protecting product value for brands, businesses, and buyers.Every consumer likes a bargain, and they’re often willing to compromise on quality to save on price. However, those shopping shortcuts can become long-term dead ends for the value and reputation of a product. Nowhere are shoppers more tempted or vulnerable than when buying online — a virtualized, often anonymous marketplace that offers more risk than reward.
Businesses face an ongoing challenge to protect the integrity of their products and brand value in the face of increasing online fraud and counterfeiting. Today, I want to spotlight the critical nature of this awareness and three reasons why cultivating it is so important — to protect our individual interests, to promote a more secure retail reality, and to create a safer society.
already significant - risk to intellectual property in a knowledge-based, globalised economy.
Catching on to counterfeits — the damage to brand value
Waking up to the threat counterfeiters pose is a brand’s first step toward security. Thankfully, there’s already a significant degree of awareness among the world’s retailers regarding the dangers posed by counterfeit goods. This awareness is particularly high in the United States, which held the largest share in the anti-counterfeit packaging market in recent years.
Worldwide, that market is expected to hit over $248 billion in the next six years — huge numbers for an equally huge threat. Soon, fewer than 10 countries will have a greater GDP than the global counterfeiting market, which is expected to reach $1.82 trillion in 2020.
Where counterfeiters attack it undermines buyer trust, which quickly hurts online brand value. In our world of internet reviews, negative press spreads like wildfire and hits brand value hard. 93 percent of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Some shoppers are less scrupulous, but this isn’t good news for your brand, either.
When “bargains” mean bad news for everyone
Many buyers have few qualms about purchasing known or possibly counterfeit items if it will sufficiently boost their personal image. It’s more important than ever that the public and professionals realize this isn’t simply a cost-cutting situation that “only” burns the buyer and the brand — we as a society are literally handing power over to criminals.
The United Nations warns that counterfeit goods are ranked among the highest income sources for organized crime. Furthermore, since these goods are often smuggled illicitly across borders, they illegally sidestep taxes and customs duties, which can rob a country of millions. Internet crime also removes the haptic effect — the hands-on ability for a consumer to inspect goods for quality and legitimacy. By the time they’ve received their order, a no refunds/no return operation has already taken their money.
When we further factor in the resultant increase in law enforcement to police these crimes, higher medical costs due to injuries from faulty products/fake medicines, and the original companies potentially raising prices to help fund their security measures, we can clearly see how counterfeiting costs the world a fortune while simultaneously decimating brand value.
The importance of product protection
Product protection requires several forms to be proactive against piracy, like counterfeit-proof labels, transport tracking, and measures to prevent copying. This relies strongly on how far brand owners are willing to go to implement these solutions. Some may choose to pass on the expense, while those who do implement product protection often make a classic mistake — that of applying single-feature solutions.
Product protection operates under the golden rule of all security: The more layers, the better. Single-feature security is much like only having a password on your business data bank — there should be multiple passwords for multiple users and multi-factor authentication for all.
Just like a hacker wouldn’t be perturbed if only a password separated them from your company’s data, counterfeiters view single-level product security as little more than a speed bump. They’ll actively seek to bypass it through imitation or neutralization. True product protection lies in a blending of protective elements that suit each individual product and are also scalable against future threats.
There’s no better blending than U-NICA approach — a cooperative think tank of universities, affiliates and agencies all committed to the shared goal of a fluid, evolving framework that fights for every brand and product. We’ve already got this model well underway and we’d love your brand to become part of this more secure future.
Join U-NICA mission to build a better world for brands
I certainly hope my article has found you before any problems have started to appear. Either way, I recommend downloading our scryptoTRACE® brochure — an End2End Brand Value Protection and Product protection solution that can be integrated into all stages of the product value chain, from design and manufacturing to distribution, sales, and purchasing.
Ultimately, brand abuse affects us all. Accepting this fact is the first step to fighting back.
U-NICA is a team with a single purpose: Supporting you in the fight to protect your brand’s integrity and value. Our staff operates globally and partners with universities and agencies to deliver the future of brand protection. Connect with us for more information on our constantly evolving open solution suite.