Brand owners all over the world are aware of the threat of counterfeiting. With technology being available to all and sundry at a low cost, making a copy of a box, a label, a document is becoming easier by the day. Also trained people may spot such copies easily, but the man on the street finds it increasing difficult to differentiate between the two.
The fake becomes evident only when you start using the product and it does not deliver the promised results and it is then that the buyer starts to feel cheated. While the immediate and a direct impact of counterfeiting is the loss of revenue, what a lot of brand owners fail to appreciate is the indirect loss the buyer’s faith in the brand, which when compounded over a considerable period of time leads to severe erosion of sales.
A consumer assumes, that if the brand owner himself is not doing enough to protect the brand, he does not value it enough or does not find it worthy of protection. The value that the consumer therefore associates with the brand or the product thereof is therefore directly related to the worth that the brand owner would himself afford for it. Smart brand owners who have understood this simple concept have invested considerable time and effort protecting their brand and have reaped benefits in the medium to long term much in excess of the immediate benefit from incremental revenues from direct increase in sales.
Brand owners need to work aggressively with print and packaging service providers in developing overt and covert features for their primary as well as secondary packaging, which will ensure better protection. Contrary to popular belief, such features can in many cases be extremely cost effective which will add very little cost to the package especially when product quantity numbers are high. What is needed is sound technical advise from an expert and a defined budget for the feature. The key also is to remember that such a feature needs to be dynamic which the brand owner can change at his will in different production lots, thus keeping the randomization as an added layer. What is important to remember is that the motivation and remuneration of the counterfeiter is always higher than the brand owner or the packaging provider and hence sooner or later he will catch up with the original. The trick is to have moved on by then to the next level.
Simple though it may sound, this is a complex and difficult battle and it will be there forever. Till such time as society exists, thieves will thrive and hence better and better locks need to be designed and used…