Discover why online brand protection must be considered a key element of any successful online business strategy in today’s borderless global economy.
There are numerous challenges which brands, and resellers must overcome to grow market share and revenue in todays globalized economy. Building and maintaining a strong reputation amongst increasingly demanding consumers is key, and whilst every effort is focused on realizing these objectives, many are ignoring external factors including counterfeits and brand abuse which are detrimental to their efforts.
Attributing funds in the necessary areas to achieve a strong ROI is a balancing act which all too often overlooks the importance of online brand protection. A sizeable budget to implement a brand protection strategy which can fight their biggest competitor, those who seek to piggyback on the success of brands through counterfeiting, imitation, and deceit. Let us explain why…
Contrary to widespread belief, it´s not only the most established or well-known brands that are susceptible to counterfeiting or brand abuse!
SMBs, those operating only within local markets, or those expanding into new markets could be forgiven for assuming that their brand and products are unlikely to be targeted by cybercriminals, however, this way of thinking must be fixed.
If there is demand for a brand, a product, or a service then there is an opportunity for third parties to illegally benefit from its success, and that is exactly what´s happening. The magnitude of the problem is clear when we consider that 3.3% of world trade is in fake goods, and 6.8% of all goods entering the European Union are counterfeits.
Our own research tells us that four out of every five companies suffer some form of counterfeits or brand abuse online, yet many are blissfully unaware of the threats which negatively impact from both a financial and reputational perspective.
In fact, our recent study which analyzed more than 12,000 businesses headquartered in Europe, and North America, showed that 80.24% of SMBs were affected, whilst a marginally greater percentage (81.32%)of large companies had issues with counterfeits or brand abuse. So, brands of all shapes and sizes are at risk.
We discovered that whilst all industries are at risk, some proved more vulnerable than others. The fashion sector suffers the most with 93% of companies affected, followed by electronics (82%), sports (79%), homeware (73%), toys and games (69%), and beauty and personal care(65%).
Counterfeit products within the toys and board games sector are a particular cause for concern. These items should follow strict measures and testing to ensure that they are fit for purpose, yet this is bypassed leaving the end-user at risk (in this case, the end user is often a baby or a child).
Fake beauty and personal care products also pose a significant threat, produced, and sold for use on the face, hair, or body. These counterfeit items have been known to contain harmful or toxic ingredients which presents a major health risk.
Counterfeits in general are renowned for consisting of lesser quality materials or containing ingredients, which often disregard rules and regulations relating to safety procedures and regulations. These fake items may be advertised and sold under your brand name tarnishing consumer confidence in your brand.
Well, todays globalized economy makes counterfeiting and distribution a far greater task to monitor and control. It should be noted that counterfeit products may appear in the same digital channels where the genuine item can be found, however they may also be sold in markets and channels around the world where the genuine items are unavailable.
We found that brands from the US attract the most attention from counterfeiters and those looking to exploit their success. Within Europe the top countries are the UK, Italy, and France, closely followed by Spain and Germany.
This indicates just how widespread the issue is. It´s a concern on a global scale which demands continuous monitoring and protection.
Some consumers are actively searching for counterfeit goods, driven by lower prices, or the desire to wear or use products from luxury brand names which would otherwise be priced beyond their means. However, others are being duped into purchasing fake products believing that they are the genuine item.
Our own research tells us that whilst 92% of respondents are aware that counterfeits are advertised and sold online, only34% are sure that they could identify one.
12% of consumers have unintentionally bought fake branded products whilst shopping online. As a direct consequence, many of these consumers stopped buying from the official brand, warned friends and family, or even left negative reviews on the official brand channels.
Consumers must be vigilant when shopping online, however many let their guard down when shopping on well-known digital marketplaces, whilst scrolling down social networks, or when conducting searches using popular search engines.
Brands who expand into new markets must also be aware that local consumers are likely to be less familiar with their products compared to shoppers in regions where their brand is well established, therefore both brands and consumers are more exposed to the risks of counterfeits. Brands have an obligation to not only protect their own interests, but also their customers too.
Larger brands may be more aware of the threats which they face and therefore have online brand protection strategies in place. They utilize the brand protection technology of third parties such as Smart Protection to maintain around the clock monitoring within digital channels in search of intellectual property abuse.
Those that aim to exploit brands and resellers that have protection in place soon find that their rogue sites, fake listings on marketplaces, or fraudulent social posts are quickly detected and removed. However, those that do not have protective measures in place suffer the consequences of allowing such infringements to exist, which usually results in lost sales and damage to consumer confidence and brand reputation.
The technology exists today for 24/7 monitoring and the removal of these harmful threats within digital channels, and despite concerns in relation to the associated costs, such services often provide a healthy ROI.
Companies who contract online brand protection services often cite a subsequent increase in sales throughout various channels, and higher rankings in Google search results which increases brand awareness and web traffic.
The question shouldn´t be “can I afford it?”, but rather “can I afford not to?”.
Our mission is to democratize online brand protection, making it affordable and accessible for brands of all shapes and sizes.
Our AI and machine learning technology scrapes the digital ecosystem in pursuit of counterfeits and various forms of intellectual property abuse. We categorize these threats based on the risk level they pose which are displayed within our intuitive user-friendly portal. This information can be visualized in real-time, and filtered by seller, by channel, by region, and by date, giving our clients access to valuable insights which can be used to make informed business decisions.
Once detected and analyzed, we successfully eliminate 95%+ of the infringements found, minimizing the negative impact that counterfeits and brand abuse have on sales and brand reputation.