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This article is more than 2 month old.

Why must Indian startups invest in brand protection?

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In the past decade, startups have revolutionised the corporate sector. They have changed the way we spend, the way we carry money, the way we travel, the way we order food or groceries, the way we shop and have delivered unique futuristic products and solutions to the country.

Why must Indian startups invest in brand protection?
In the past decade, startups have revolutionised the corporate sector. They have changed the way we spend, the way we carry money, the way we travel, the way we order food or groceries, the way we shop and have delivered unique futuristic products and solutions to the country. This trend is attracting more and more entrepreneurs to start their ventures with their unique products.
It is overwhelming for an entrepreneur to start a new business and make it a success while ensuring improved trust in product provenance and secure consumer confidence for quality, societal, and environmental impacts.
Perhaps, various Brands risks must be addressed proactively by Startups. These include product safety and security from unwanted tampering, mitigating counterfeiting, supply chain efficiency, brand enhancement, consumer engagement, controlling costs, data intelligence, and regulatory compliance. The most hurting among them is IPR infringement and counterfeiting.
Imagine a scenario where one is delighted by the success they have rightfully earned, but they realise that someone is misusing their success to cheat customers into buying inferior quality products sold in duplicate packaging. For instance, if a brand selling fresh good quality dairy milk finds that someone is selling inferior or adulterated milk by copying their name and packaging. Or a brand selling organic spices finds that the market is polluted with copycat packages containing non-organic produce duping customers into thinking that it is the brand’s product. Also, we all are aware of the tampering cases that surfaced in food deliveries. In the age of social media, incidents of such nature adversely affect the brand equity of a young brand and demand additional resources for damage control.
Startups must invest in anti-counterfeiting strategy from the very initial stage to protect their brand equity, products, and valuable customers. Anti-counterfeiting should be an intrinsic part of the management to avoid unfortunate incidents and additional burden on a startup brand’s resources.
Here is some key advice startups must evaluate:
1. Secure Brand Packaging with Physical Security:
Products have increased brand protection value when they or their packaging is under scrutiny by consumers. Tamper evident packaging offers brand protection for all products that are or are not regulated by authorities. TE packaging not only mitigates the risk of counterfeiting but also assists in fighting diversion, theft, return fraud, warranty fraud, refilling, etc.
2. Enhancing transparency with Digital Security: The traceability technologies enhance efficiency, transparency in the supply chain as well as provide valuable inputs in data intelligence. By keeping a track of the movement of products through a secure supply chain, one can easily identify where and how pilferage happened and a fraudulent product entered the supply chain. Often industry players assume that track and trace systems will be a huge investment of time and money.
According to us, there is always a way. There are phases of traceability components, product visibility, supply chain visibility, line-item visibility, and process visibility. There is an easier, more approachable way to build traceability infrastructure. Taking smaller steps and taking the time to build an infrastructure that can scale with individual company needs can offer to be a more manageable and ultimately more successful strategy. Tracking products during the delivery phase is essential not only to ensure the products are on time but tracing these additional variables to help eliminate potential product damage or food spoilage in transit preventing recalls and lost revenue.
While a brand can adopt physical and digital security solutions according to their needs, the combination of physical and digital security solutions is always advisable. Investment in authentication & traceability solutions builds the credibility of the business and showcases a strong sense of value creation.
Creating awareness in customers about these features and encouraging them to actively participate in the authentication process does not only build their trust but is a great way of bonding with them. This is a great way for a business to create a differentiating factor, a signature. A good brand protection strategy will review the threat, adopt the relevant solutions, and keep monitoring their performance.
The entire strategy of protecting a brand goes a long way in harnessing the brand’s true potential and consequently enhance the brand value.
Businesses make a lot of effort to develop and sell good quality products, they should not have to suffer losses due to some fraudsters. Consumers have the right to be assured of the quality they are promised. And governments should not have to deal with the unnecessary menace of counterfeiting. If authentication solutions are adopted by businesses at an early stage and built into the very DNA of the operations, then the whole ecosystem can gradually become cleaner and safer for all.
The author, Chander Shekhar Jeena, is Secretary, at Authentication Solution Providers’ Association (ASPA). The views expressed are personal
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