Risks of counterfeiting real, survey shows

We all know about the dangers that brands face when it comes to counterfeiting. But which are considered the highest risk?

According to a survey at MarkMonitor’s annual Spring Symposium, the overwhelming majority believe it to be reputational damage. 

Having gathered responses from more than 100 business executives and attendees of our Symposium, 74 percent said they believe reputational damage to be the most significant risk they face through online counterfeiting. This was closely followed by lost sales through counterfeiting and/or pirated goods, with one in five citing this as the most damaging side-effect.

The Symposium is a hugely insightful and valuable event, both for us and for those who attend. The results from the survey we hold each year provide an exclusive insight into the current state of the online counterfeit marketplace and general awareness around the latest market trends.

Case in point: it was clear from the findings that brand protection is still a serious headache for lots of businesses. Forty-four percent of respondents told us they are seeing instances of brand abuse escalating, while 38 percent said they have difficulty understanding whether it’s increasing or decreasing – a sign that perhaps some brands are overwhelmed by the issue and unsure how best to tackle it.

Additionally, when asked where the responsibility lies for brand protection within their company, 37 percent admitted that it lies ‘all over the place’, with just 6 percent saying they have a dedicated head of brand protection.

These findings combined highlight not just the scale of the counterfeiting issue, but the huge negative repercussions that brands can suffer from – particularly from a reputational perspective. Worryingly, there also seems to be a lack of clarity around who’s responsible for brand protection within their business.

These figures clearly need to change, and this will only happen if brands create a dedicated online brand protection strategy that maps out the overall process and assigns responsibilities to dedicated individuals.

That’s not to say there aren’t also some positives to take away from the survey – we found encouraging signs that counterfeit-conscious brands are heading in the right direction. When it comes to dealing with online infringements, for example, 48 percent of respondents employ a holistic strategy of preventative measures and enforcement across much of the internet. This is an approach that we champion here at MarkMonitor.

As more brands realize the importance of having a comprehensive online brand protection strategy in place, we will hopefully see these figures continue to improve over time.