I am active on professional social media and I focus on groups and organizations involved with authentication technologies, anti-counterfeiting, diversion, anti-piracy, customer engagement, licensing, trademark protection, and supply chain management − the big umbrella of Brand Protection. Over the past couple of years, I’ve read statements from inside and outside of the brand protection industry that question and sometimes disparage the usefulness of overt technologies or Optical Variable Devices (OVD). Some have labeled overt solutions as a “DEAD” technology. The death of overt technology has been greatly exaggerated!
Now I understand there are some very smart people out there that believe they have the “Holy Grail” of anti-counterfeiting solutions and are convinced they have rediscovered Plutonium. They may very well have the answer. However, before the last shovel of dirt is spread over the grave of holography, I’ve reviewed the markets that solidly incorporate overt technologies as the backbone of their brand protection strategy.
Everyone’s favorite is currency and banknotes. Israel, Poland, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, and the Euro have all recently integrated new cutting-edge holographic technology for the next generation of banknotes to create the largest hurdle for bad guys to counterfeit.
Sports League Licensing has been incorporating holograms for decades and continues to this day to use as a toll to protect licensing agreement and valuable trademarks. It’s hard to imagine a purchasing a MLB Baseball Cap, NFL Jersey, or NHL puck without their iconic hologram.
Most everyone has one of these in their wallet or purse. The VISA Dove and the MasterCard Globe are symbols of security and trust on cards used daily for transactions around the world. VISA started integrating the “VISA Dove” in 1984 and continues to be the primary overt security feature on VISA Transaction cards.
Last but not least, the commercial and consumer market. Products ranging from high tech electronics to textbooks to water filters to a wide range of apparel items have incorporated holography as the primary feature in multi-layered solutions. No better way for a consumer to have the ability the authenticate their genuine product.
An added benefit to brands is the information they can glean from the latest generation of data-enabled holograms. The incorporation of unique ID’s backed by a web-based platform allows companies to track their products throughout the entire supply chain, giving them control of their brand, and can facilitate consumer engagement programs, allowing brands to reward consumers for authenticating their products.
In speaking with many brand protection professionals over the years, I have found that once they see their brand and logo in 3D holographic form and understand the powerful insights they can gain from using them, there is a buzz created across their company that reaches the desk of the Marketing Department on to the offices of the C-Level.
I could go on with more examples that would take up page after page, but I’ll leave with a parting shot that if overt solutions and holography are dying technologies, it’s going to be one very long eulogy.
Gary Nelson is Director of Sales for Key Accounts with OpSec Security. He has been involved with Brand Protection and Authentication since 2005 with a focus on Overt, Covert, and Digital Solutions in the commercial market with Fortune 500 companies.