The four key traits of an Online Brand Protection expert
To deliver value beyond enforcement and takedowns, analysts must be experts in online brand protection and fully understand a brand’s pain points.
A subject of great confusion for brand owners is the exact role played by online brand protection analysts and the added value they provide. When posed with these difficult questions, vendors provide a wide variety of unsatisfactory answers.
Incopro analysts approach online brand protection strategically and methodically. Listings, seller accounts and offline premises are connected using Talisman, our online brand protection tool, and are then enforced at scale to ensure lasting impact. A significant tenet of an analyst’s role, however, is to also employ trend and threat analysis to identify problem areas before they can fully materialise, helping a brand save on costly enforcement further down the line.
Beyond the takedown
Online brand protection vendors’ analysts are often described as ‘enforcement specialists’. Incopro’s analysts, however, deliver value beyond enforcement and takedowns. Through regular communication with our clients, and monthly tailored reports rather than data-dumps, analysts share their insights on future online threats allowing preventative rather than reactionary action.
In this guide, we break down four key traits of an online brand protection expert, highlighting the demonstrable benefits and costs saved by approaching the issue of infringement with more than just enforcement in mind.
1. Provides legal expertise and recommendations
Whilst brands usually keep track of their trademark and patent portfolio, they may be unaware of gaps exploited in international regions. Without preventative measures, brands may be infringed in plain sight with impunity.
Coming from a wide range of backgrounds, Incopro analysts are experienced in providing advice to brand owners on how to alleviate infringement through trend and threat analysis. Analysts may recommend rights holders register trademarks in new territories and class categories to prevent exploitation of gaps in their portfolio and push back by sellers.
Further to legal recommendations, Incopro analysts are equipped to advise on market opportunities. For one of our clients in the hardware and open-source software space, we were able to convert grey market resellers in China to official resellers, providing access to a wider customer base and distribution network.
2. Harnesses essential relationships and partnerships
Enforcement is a complex issue, and for brands that do not work closely with platforms and offline specialists, it is a frustrating, slow process.
Incopro analysts each have their own specialisms along with broad experience across different regions, platforms and types of infringement. Analysts may also have dedicated roles for specific products; the London team, for example, has a ‘Watches and Luxury Brand Specialist’ whom is able to identify sophisticated copycats that even brand owners may struggle to tell apart from the genuine article.
Harnessing our partnerships with offline investigation specialists, Incopro analysts ensure that large scale infringers are shut down. In 2018 WRi, an offline investigator that specialises in anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy, collaborated with Incopro and local authorities to raid a physical premises of a UK-based importer and trader where 9,000 counterfeit and potentially dangerous items were seized. An examination of the premises was also able to link a Hong-Kong based supplier to the operation, spurring further investigation.
Importantly, Incopro analysts foster strong relationships with online platforms to prevent the friction that is traditionally associated with enforcement. These relationships also aid in our pre-emptive approach to brand protection, with online Chinese marketplace Taobao recently reaching out to one of our clients in the technology sector to advise them on how to avoid losing hardware sales to counterfeits ahead of Singles’ Day.
Going further than platform collaboration and offline investigation, Incopro’s Brand Protection Team Leader Joshua Hopping was elected to the FBI-affiliated non-profit InfraGard in September 2018. As part of this role he shares valuable knowledge and intelligence on anti-counterfeiting.
3. Offers international expertise
Lacking resources or expertise to target counterfeiting operations abroad is a concern shared by many rights holders as they are unable to target the threats most damaging to their brands.
Local support and international coverage are essential to a comprehensive brand protection strategy. Incopro analysts are based in the UK, US and China and currently boast a 90% compliance rate across all major international marketplaces and social media platforms, including Alibaba and Amazon. Where there is no physical presence in counterfeiting hotspots such as Latin America and Eastern-Europe, analysts are trained to familiarise themselves with local platforms and law.
Svetlana Ilnitskaya, Brand Protection Team Leader:
Through in-house expert advice, platform relationships, and language skills, Incopro analysts have over a 90% compliance rate across all major marketplaces and social media platforms.
The breadth of spoken languages within the teams is invaluable for platform collaboration and for configuring Talisman for international markets; at any one time, there are between 15 and 20 languages spoken fluently amongst the analyst team.
4. Targets large-scale infringers to ensure lasting impact
Online brand protection programmes often focus on the low-hanging fruit and provide minimal reduction in infringement or impact on your revenues. This equates to removing the symptoms rather than the problem.
A brand protection expert directs efforts towards taking down the large-scale infringers that are most damaging to your brand’s reputation and revenues. KPIs are set on reducing infringement and clearing up target platforms, rather than the number of enforcement notices.
By targeting the most visible and damaging threats on Amazon and eBay for one of our clients, Incopro relieved pressure on their online DVD prices. Before they enlisted Talisman, lower priced pirate copies were regularly placing first in both marketplaces’ search results, forcing our client to lower their own prices in response to remain competitive.
Value-add for your brand
A strategic approach is behind any successful brand protection programme. Through prioritisation, analysts gather actionable data to enforce against large-scale illicit operations to ensure lasting impact. If you’d like to discuss in more detail how Incopro analysts can deliver value for your brand using Talisman and their collective expertise, schedule an obligation-free technology demo with one of our specialists below.
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