Counterfeit goods are on the rise in the luxury market, and can quickly become a brand’s worst nightmare if not dealt with properly. Counterfeit goods cost the US economy $225 billion each year. In 2013 alone, the US Department of Homeland Security confiscated over $1 billion in counterfeit handbags, belts, and wallets. Counterfeiting is certainly a huge economic problem, but it is a major problem for brand integrity as well.
Alessandra Vercelloni, Director of Brand Protection at OpSec Security, works with some of the world’s best known luxury brands to help protect them from counterfeits and diversion. We sat down with Alessandra for a Q&A session about the counterfeit luxury industry, and what measures brands might take to help secure their products.
Q. Which issues are brand owners most concerned with in regards to protecting their products?
A. Brand owners are very concerned with product diversion, overproduction, and counterfeits. Having the ability to trace products at every stop in the supply chain is a great start towards protecting your brand. Solutions for traceability are available, and require the implementation of very sophisticated software and a partnership with a trusted brand protection vendor.
Companies are also very concerned with how a brand protection program fits within their overall branding strategy. They do not want overt anti-counterfeiting features to interfere with their brand guidelines. OpSec’s products tend to be popular because they integrate seamlessly with the branding of the company, and can be fully customized to ensure compatibility.
Q. What measures can luxury brand owners take to help secure their brand?
A. The first thing that brand owners should know is that securing your brand is a very complex process. It requires securing the supply and distribution chains, as well as implementing a strict legal framework. It also involves sourcing contracts. The whole process, from product development, to contract manufacturing, requires a holistic approach from within the brand’s own network, as well as its licensed network. As some of the manufacturing processes to manufacture luxury products may be outsourced to multiple manufacturing facilities, this may further complicate the brand protection process. Protecting the integrity of a brand is a complex task, and should be the responsibility of a dedicated brand protection team. Here are some of the things that brands can do to ensure that their products are safe from counterfeits:
- Monitor online marketplaces for counterfeits. Online marketplaces and e-commerce sites are often home to thousands of counterfeit products. Searching for your brand on these sites will help give you an idea of the scope of the problem, and help you to determine next steps.
- Tag products with security devices. Make sure that your products feature some overt and covert way to determine authenticity. This will allow customs and consumers recognize genuine product.
- Enforce IP and trademarks. Let counterfeiters know you mean business. Take counterfeiters and infringers to court, and consider criminal and/or civil investigation.
Q. Which questions do you get most frequently from brands?
A. Like with any service, most people want to know how much it costs. Most of our solutions will cost less than an advertising campaign in a premium publication and will cover a brand protection program for one year. Investing a fraction of what you would pay for a seasonal advertising campaign is all it takes to help secure what matters most – your brand.
People tend to think that anti-counterfeiting measures are just for luxury brands, or for high-end brands, but this is not the case. Anything that is in high-demand will be counterfeited, whether it is a luxury item, a tech gadget, or a child’s toy. A brand protection program is beneficial to brands of all sizes. Learn how to calculate the ROI of securing your brand by downloading our e-book.