Companies get mixed results from enforcement, says survey

A poll has suggested that while companies are stepping up their efforts to bring enforcement actions against counterfeiters, the results are mixed.

The MarkMonitor survey of 600 marketing decision-makers from a range of companies operating in the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy reveal that 61 per cent of brands took action against counterfeiters operating online over the last 12 months, attempting to get infringing content such as fraudulent product listings taken down, which was a 9% increase on the prior year.

The respondents collectively reported 2,660 successful cases, with 2,470 resulting in financial compensation, but the number of unsuccessful cases was high at 1,995 – more than 42 per cent of the total.

All told, around a third of respondents reported losing up to 10 per cent of sales to counterfeit goods, with 23 per cent reporting saying they lost up to 25 per cent of revenue and 32 per cent up to 50 per cent from this activity.

The survey also found that 82 per cent of the executives polled said their companies had changed brand protection strategies to deal with emerging cybersecurity and fraud threats in the next year, two-thirds said infringement has increased in the past year, and almost three quarters said the issue is attracting high-level attention in the company.

The bulk of future brand protection threats will come from social media, phishing, unauthorised websites, online marketplaces and apps, they added.

“The fact remains that brand protection is gaining more attention within organisations because the threats to reputation, customers and the bottom line are increasing at pace, and this is being recognised at the highest levels,” commented Chrissie Jamieson, MarkMonitor’s vice president of marketing.

The research found that there is still more to be done, however, particularly with regard to the responsibility for brand protection within companies, with 46 per cent per cent of brands saying there need to be more involvement from board level, with the same proportion seeking more involvement from IT and security teams.

Digging down into other findings in the research, it’s a little disappointing that less than half (46 per cent) said that the most important consideration in brand protection is keeping consumers safe, although that does mark a welcome rise from 28 per cent in last year’s survey. And 84 per cent said that shopper behaviour plays a major role in prioritising protection programmes.

“By prioritising infringements based on this consumer-centric view — that is focusing on infringements where consumers are most likely to encounter them — brands can be more effective and save time and resources because they are not trying to remove every single infringement,” notes the report.

On the issue of technology as a solution to the problem, almost a quarter of respondents said they would spend most of their budget on this aspect, and 85 per cent of brands have incorporated new technologies – including artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and dark web monitoring – into their protection strategy.

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