This is the first in a series of blogs from the brand protection professionals at Covectra, Inc. dedicated to the art and science of supply integrity commonly referred to as “brand protection”. We invite you to share your thoughts with us as this nascent field continues to mature and permeate virtually all industry sectors and all channels of trade.
…So what is brand protection?
In the way of definitions or identifying the scope of brand protection, we see the problem being addressed as a combination of counterfeit goods, commercial diversion of goods, product theft, falsification of trade documents or packaging and other breaches of legitimate trade.
We recognize the problem-makers as the pirates and parasites of branded goods intent on capitalizing on the good will, utility and market value of quality goods produced by or for the authorized holders of intellectual property rights of such brands.
We see the solution, to some extent, embodied in the deployment of a combination of proactive brand-protecting strategies and reactive tactics. The portfolio of methods used includes so-called anti-counterfeiting technology, legal and public sector interventions and the adoption of supply chain best practices.
Furthermore, related to these counter-measures and perhaps what makes the list of solutions most effective in their deployment is the need for pro-active collaboration among trading partners. Brand protection is much more achievable when the legitimate supply chain is designed to increase the control and visibility of commercial activities from producers to users of a product. The lack of visibility into authorized trade, and the (business-driven) hoarding of information related to such commerce leaves the legitimate supply chain vulnerable to the diversion of genuine goods away from that chain or the undetected infusion of fakes into it.
In short, when brand owners internally apply safeguarding best practices and a variety of supply integrity technologies to its products and packaging, they are setting the foundation of brand protection success. However, when an entire industry coalesces to achieve supply integrity, including pro-active public-private sector collaborations and real-time information sharing throughout the chain of custody only then can brand owners feel confident in the safety and efficacy of its products. Furthermore, and most exciting for brand marketers and supply chain professionals is the potential business benefits that can be achieved from shared intelligence among trading partners.
In subsequent blogs, we will explore these themes in more detail. In the meantime feel free to contact us with your own experiences and thoughts regarding brand protection.