Four reasons you should be shouting about your brand protection strategy

Whilst the advantages of brand protection are clear, brands are often more uncertain as to why they should feel proud of a successful strategy.

The proliferation of online brand infringements continues to rocket across all sectors. However, many online brand protection vendors remain focused with only the number of takedown notices sent, rather than achieving both meaningful reductions in infringement and tangible gains in sales. The ‘notice-first’ approach is unlikely to result in a successful brand protection strategy for their clients, leaving many brands’ core goals unachieved.

Successful brand protection requires an intelligence-led solution that can significantly reduce the level of IP infringements. This helps address the root of the issue, causing lasting impact for brands and will help protect their revenue, customers’ health and brand reputation. Below we have listed the four key reasons businesses should be proud of their brand protection strategy:

1. Protecting your customers from harm

By employing a comprehensive brand protection strategy, businesses are protecting their customers from dangerous, sometimes lethal counterfeited products. Examples of dangerous counterfeits are widespread, including fake phone chargers exploding and causing fires, fake toys found to contain carcinogens, and vehicle brake pads made of grass. Successful brand protection means identifying the large-scale networks operating against your brand and enforcing against them, rather than taking down individual listings or accounts ad-hoc, causing minor inconveniences rather than a lasting impact.

You’re being proactive, you’re being responsible and putting the consumer’s safety and wellbeing front and centre; most businesses are not.

2. Protecting reputation and ensuring brand longevity

Brand reputation is difficult to build, but easy to erode. Trust in brands is continuing its swift descent with a 3% year-on-year fall of consumer trust in UK brands. Most significant, however, is that almost half of UK consumers struggle to work out which brands they can trust.

The volume and availability of online counterfeits linked to a brand impacts the company in question’s image. In a recent survey, 76% of consumers said they would be less likely to purchase from a brand whose reputation was associated with counterfeits. Therefore, rights holders that are able to significantly reduce the level of infringement and minimise their association with counterfeiting will be able to safeguard their hard-won brand image.

Furthermore, a brand can choose to take command of the message and build a reputation with investors, suppliers and licensees for being proactive in tackling infringement, rather than just reacting to customer complaints as and when they receive them. This is particularly beneficial if a business’ competitors aren’t engaged in a successful brand protection strategy themselves, allowing a brand to position itself as the industry leader in protecting consumers both online and offline.

3. Preventing damage to sales and converting customers

Successful brand protection must be able to demonstrate ROI. If a brand is able to prevent loss of sales to online infringers, they may also be able to convert some counterfeit buyers into customers. A study conducted by Oxera, on behalf of Incopro and working with one of our clients, found that for every infringing social media account taken down, approximately 0.7-0.8 additional sales were generated as a result. Lost sales can also be recouped through converting certain unauthorised sellers and merchandisers to official partners, allowing you to reach audiences and channels previously untouched by your brand.

By preventing lost sales and converting new customers, you can change perceptions internally that a brand protection team is a cost centre within your organisation.

4. Shutting down counterfeiting networks linked with modern-day slavery

Counterfeiting operations are frequently run by organised criminal networks whom engage in human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Working conditions are dangerous within counterfeiting sweatshops, with labourers being exposed to toxic materials such as the mercury and arsenic found in fake cosmetics. Labourers often receive no pay, having been forced into their situation to repay their debts to human traffickers, and they are often physically threatened by those running the criminal operations.

Brands can however, use technology to link online sellers, IP addresses and physical premises together, gathering actionable data in which to aid law enforcement and specialist offline organisations , such as WRi and Beijing East IP, in dismantling these criminal networks. As a result, vulnerable members of society are protected from exploitation and those responsible are put behind bars.

At Incopro, we work with our clients to create effective online brand protection strategies, leveraging our expertise in intellectual property, criminal intelligence and technical design. If you believe your IP is being infringed and are interested in see to the scale of the online threats, you can request a free Brand Health Check below.

Our non-obligatory Brand Health Check provides a high-level overview of the online threats to your brand, prioritising these by visibility to consumers, the platforms they are discovered on and the regions they target. Your health check will highlight how you can eliminate these threats and capture the value you are missing.

Request a free brand health check

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