Ron Guido is President of LifeCare Services, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in brand protection services. Ron is the former head of the Brand Protection function at Johnson and Johnson and brings significant expertise and perspective to the battle against brand attacks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 23rd, 2016 I participated in a MarkMonitor webinar where I shared my recipe for mitigating supply chain and financials risks associated with unauthorized commerce. I discussed the need for a shift the thinking of companies whose brands have been subjected to counterfeiting and gray market diversion. I suggested that they need to move from a reactive victim’s mentality to one that adopts a culture of prevention and employs risk-mitigating best practices.
Leading brand protection-minded companies invest in an enterprise-wide approach to brand protection. Common business functions and core competencies in a company evolve over time: developing new skill sets, acquiring the latest technologies, gathering intelligence, and refining their operating practices. Likewise, brand protection is a nascent yet important business function that has emerged as a necessary core competency.
To counter the counterfeiters, to flush out illicit traders and to recover revenue lost to nefarious profiteers, brand owners are prudent to invest in these12 Best Practices for a Successful Brand Protection Program:
- Corporate Culture Start at the senior executive level and instill a company culture that has “no tolerance” for brand attacks.
- Incident Management Catalogue every incident of breaches to supply chain integrity using data analysis tools to identify patterns.
- Communication & Training Unify the organization (and external business partners) around brand protection methods through ongoing awareness and communications programs.
- Market Surveillance Investigate unfamiliar sellers and ‘ship to’ locations to detect illicit traders. Conduct random purchases of your product from all market channels and authenticate the product.
- Commercial Insights Utilize intelligence from commercial transactions to identify anomalies that may signal unauthorized trade or unexplained changes in supply/demand patterns.
- Cyber Security Add security features to company domains, trademarks and electronic communications to prevent phishing, malware and information breaches.
- Distributor Compliance Adopt ‘trust with verification’ policies for contract agreements with all suppliers, printers, distributors and 3rd party logistics contractors.
- Theft and Diversion Protection Prevent inventory pilferage and cargo theft by implementing security practices and technologies to facilities, vehicles and to shipping containers.
- Product Protection Invest in anti-counterfeiting technologies to help authenticate your product in-market and to track its movement through the downstream supply network.
- Product Returns Integrity Utilize authentication techniques to identify fake and diverted goods being returned for credit or recalled.
- Product Destruction Vigilance Ensure goods designated for disposal are not re-introduced into supply by witnessing the destruction process firsthand.
- Retired Equipment Disposition Ensure equipment and tooling removed from active production are not auctioned back into use by counterfeiting operations.
Each of these serves an important role in reducing harm to brands and potentially to its users or customers. To learn more about these best practices and how to establish a successful brand protection program at your company please see the recording of the webinar.