Brand Counterfeiting Shows No Sign of Slowing Down
Today, it’s harder than ever for brands to protect themselves from occurrences of counterfeiting and brand infringement. The rise in online shopping, proliferation of social media channels, and the global nature of business has opened the door to a whole host of new avenues of exploitation. In fact, according to recent research conducted by MarkMonitor, almost half (47 percent) of brands are now losing revenue due to counterfeiting. And this isn’t just referring to small amounts of revenue: one in three brands said they had lost more than 10 percent of sales in total.
To put this increase into perspective, research from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that counterfeits now account for 2.5 percent of world trade, equivalent to $461 billion, while the number of counterfeits seized in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent in 2017. This has resulted in a huge loss in consumer confidence, which in turn can have a detrimental impact on a brand’s reputation.
The Growing Problem
The severity of the problem is clear, and it shows no sign of going away. Indeed, the MarkMonitor findings reveal 58 percent of brands believe keeping themselves safe from counterfeiting will become increasingly difficult over the next five years. Reasons cited include the rise of artificial intelligence, the dark web and augmented reality technology, with 41 percent claiming they're already experiencing an increase in brand infringement.
Additionally, 40 percent of all respondents believe they're more likely to be affected by lost sales due to counterfeit goods in the next five years, an indicator that even businesses themselves are fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. So, what can brands do to protect themselves from the dangers of counterfeiting?
Putting Protection in Place
One of the best methods of protection is implementing a comprehensive brand protection strategy. This involves creating a plan that brands must follow should they come under attack, and it should clearly detail all individual roles and responsibilities. Yet, despite this, less than two-thirds (64 percent) of organizations admitted to having a plan in place to deal with instances of counterfeiting or brand infringement. A reason for this could be a lack of awareness and understanding within the business, with 46 percent of those surveyed suggesting the value of a brand protection plan is undervalued in their organization.
For those that do have a brand protection plan in place, there are still some challenges to overcome, including the ability to quantify the value lost to infringements and the ability to prioritize them, a lack of knowledgeable staff, and a lack of resources. This is where enlisting the help of a trusted third-party expert can be beneficial — bringing together skills and knowledge that many businesses lack on their own, which can help to plug the gaps and create a strong line of defense.
With no signs of counterfeit activity slowing down, it's imperative that all businesses have a comprehensive online brand protection strategy under their belts. This goes considerable lengths to mitigating any associated risks, but there are additional steps that brands can take, too.
Most notably, it can be extremely beneficial to work with a trusted third-party partner throughout the brand protection journey. These partners often hold the kind of expertise that many businesses do not have in-house, and they can recommend the correct steps to ensure the customer remains at the heart of any program.
Finally, there's also advanced technologies and tools available on the market that can help to further protect brands from online threats. Only with the right plan in place, supported by the use of advanced technology and close collaboration with an expert third-party partner, can brands be truly confident that they remain protected in today’s digital age.
Related story: 4 Steps to Stop Unauthorized Online Sales of Your Products
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Chrissie Jamieson is a highly experienced strategic marketer with a strong focus in the business intelligence, brand protection and domain sector. As senior director for Clarivate Analytics, Chrissie leads two of the company’s brands, MarkMonitor in EMEA and CompuMark globally.