Brand integrity can be tricky to foster in a business considering the ever-evolving nature of customer expectations. The process of building up brand reputation is quite challenging in a competitive market, but it only takes an unmet promise, a counterfeit product or even a forged certificate to bring it all tumbling down. Therefore, taking the right measures to protect and maintain brand integrity is essential for any business organization to stay afloat and win customer loyalty in the long run.
What leads to the loss of brand integrity?
Brand reputation gets negatively affected due to a number of reasons, and the most common ones are as follows:
1. The popularity of grey marketing activities, by which genuine products are sold in distribution channels that are legal but do not have the authorization of the original brands. This not only causes damage to product reputation but also negatively impacts brand relationships with distributors.
2. The rise in moonlighting cases, which consist of insider theft of genuine products sold in authentic business organizations. The major issue with products created using moonlighting tactics is that they are almost entirely identical to their genuine counterparts. Customers, at first glance, find it impossible to differentiate the real products from their copies.
3. The high accessibility of manufacturing technology to counterfeiters, because of which duplicate products can appear completely similar to real ones, but are actually manufactured with fake, toxic and potentially harmful parts. Not many businesses can constantly keep track of counterfeit products and document information in order to protect consumers and gain brand trust.
4. The forging and manipulation of certificates, warranties and other valuable digital or paper documents of business organizations and their products, which tarnishes brand integrity and causes conflicts for the brand.
5. The lack of clarity in supply chain data that customers value and actively look out for, which can hinder the growth of brand loyalty.
Why do brands find it difficult to safeguard brand reputation?
A lot of businesses, despite being aware of the various reputation and integrity threats, find it difficult to protect themselves from such issues due to the following reasons:
- Manually conducting research on counterfeiting and related issues that threaten brand integrity is a lengthy process. Also, it is quite difficult to derive accurate estimates of the loss incurred due to counterfeit product sales and document forging.
- Most counterfeit product sales that occur due to moonlighting and grey marketing get ignored or unaddressed in the original brand’s supply chain complexities, because of which counterfeiters are not held accountable for their activities in the majority of cases.
- Ensuring supply chain transparency is necessary to curb moonlighting and grey marketing, which is not always practical for smaller businesses.
- Tracking each and every valuable certificate and document, and ensuring authenticity every step of the way (particularly for online purchases) tends to be time-consuming and results in the wastage of valuable resources.
- Attempting to make each product and document tamper-proof can be a highly expensive process and is often far beyond what a growing brand can afford to get involved in.
In order to keep customers satisfied, boost sales and retain loyalty, brands need to protect themselves from integrity and reputation threats. This is where Authlink’s digital solutions come in.
How can brands effectively retain integrity and value ?
Consistency is key in building brand integrity; it requires continuous effort to keep customers engaged and loyal to a brand and its products. There are a few measures that businesses can take in order to maintain brand reputation and value in the long run, as follows:
1. Draw customer awareness towards counterfeit product detection:
According to recent findings, one in five consumers would boycott genuine brands after accidentally purchasing counterfeit products, which would cause loss of brand value. The most effective way to ensure that customers do not buy counterfeit products is by empowering them to identify genuine products on their own. This can be done by educating customers on the negative effects of purchasing counterfeit goods, and by creating a system to quickly confirm product genuineness before purchase.
How Authlink helps: Authlink enables brands to create scannable packages driven by smart tags and NFTs for their products, which customers can use to access relevant product and brand information. Brands can highlight product authenticity using Authlink Smart Tags and reassure consumers about the genuineness of their purchases. This is a great way to boost brand reputation and awareness amongst customers.
2. Improve supply chain security and transparency:
It is important to strengthen supply chain transparency and security to reduce grey marketing and moonlighting issues. When supply chain visibility increases, it becomes difficult for unauthorized or illegal product distribution pathways to function, and helps brands retain control over their supply chain systems from start to finish. An increase in supply chain transparency will eventually lead to higher brand loyalty.
How Authlink helps: Authlink’s platform improves supply chain transparency by creating intelligent digital identities for each physical product. Authlink’s digital transparency solutions make each product related transaction traceable and verifiable along the supply chain, thereby bringing accountability in product sourcing, manufacturing and distribution. By fortifying supply chain systems in this manner, Authlink minimizes the risks of products getting misdirected along the way to the shelves through moonlighting or grey marketing activities.
3. Ensure the security of product information, documents and certificates:
It is crucial to protect and stay in control of valuable product and business certificates and documents as their manipulation can severely impact brand value. This is particularly important to curb insider theft cases in organizations as well.
How Authlink helps: Authlink’s digital fingerprinting feature enables brands to create accountability for every bit of supply chain information uploaded in the system. Also, all valuable certificates and documents related to the products are securely stored in Authlink’s platform and are therefore kept safe from tampering.
4. Personalize customer shopping experiences:
The best way to highlight product authenticity is by adding a personal touch to customer shopping experiences. When customers get the impression that brands truly care about their purchase experiences, then their sense of loyalty and appeal will consequently improve as well. Promoting customer engagement is, therefore, a great way for brands to repair damaged reputations and safeguard integrity.
How Authlink helps: Authlink’s platform creates a sense of personalization and enables new digital shopping experiences for customers both before and after purchase. Brands can interact with customers by conveying distinct brand and product stories, and also offer customized benefits to customers with Authlink’s Customer Connect feature. With Authlink’s platform, brands can establish perpetual relationships with customers and foster brand loyalty in the long run.
5. Stay up to date with counterfeiting trends:
By staying informed about the latest counterfeiting trends, hotspots, prevention techniques, and so on, brands can tackle fake product sales and document forging more efficiently. After gaining such insights, it becomes easier to employ anti-counterfeiting solutions and protect valuables from getting tampered with or duplicated.
How Authlink helps: Authlink’s digital dashboard generates detailed insights and analytics that brands can use to track counterfeiting trends specific to certain products, areas, timings, and so on. Customer scans are registered in real-time in Authlink’s platform, complete with timestamps and location information for a better understanding of counterfeiting issues from identification to prevention.
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