Protect Your Brand: Build A Successful Anti-Counterfeiting Strategy

The proliferation of counterfeit goods throughout the real world is on a constant rise. From the streets of Bangkok to Beijing to the streets of Manhattan, you can see street vendors hawking fake Gucci handbags, Rolex watches and Calvin Klein T-shirts. There is no end.

These same counterfeit items are sold online with literally hundreds of new websites popping up weekly. The main challenge you face as a brand marketer is how to protect your brand with so many of these fake items being sold on the web, damaging your brand’s reputation and even worse, slashing your bottom line.

The Cost to Brands

Given the state of this spread of counterfeit goods, the cost to brands from online counterfeiting alone makes it a dire necessity to protect your brand. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can devise an anti-counterfeiting strategy.

Recognize the Problem

Are you one of those brand marketers that believe that online counterfeiting is just a threat that the big brands face? Every brand wants to be successful. Online counterfeiters are out there and tracking thousands of brands and are planning their strategy now, lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce. The sooner you realize that counterfeiting is a threat to your brand and implement a strategy to combat it, the less likely you will be their next victim.

You should also follow reports put out by the appropriate agencies in your geographic location to see the types of counterfeit goods that are most violating authentic brands. This way you can plan a budget if you deem the risk as high to protect your brand.

Constant Monitoring

As a brand marketer, you should constantly be monitoring the web using your own set of keywords, for websites that might be violating your brand. Setting up Google alerts can help in this strategy. Investigate and identify all the websites for those who are committing brand and trademark infringement against your brand.

Identify PPC Violations

Create reports of abusive PPC ads that are using your own branded keywords. Note the text of these ads, the links that you are being directed to upon clicking. Take screen-shots of these counterfeit sites, note the geographic location of where people are being directed from.

Traffic Diversion

Many times your hard SEO work that is enabling consumers to find your brand online, is being hijacked as online counterfeiters are redirecting this traffic to their sites. Monitor review sites that these counterfeiters use to increase the legitimacy of their products, many of which are out rightly violating your brand. You should be monitoring the traffic that these sites are receiving and come to an estimation of how much of your traffic is being diverted and how much money in conversions your brand is losing to these thieves.

Search Online Market Platforms

Online auction and eCommerce platforms are increasingly being used by counterfeiters to sell their fake goods, some that might be infringing on your brand’s trademark. By using platforms such as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, counterfeiters have the ability to ship mass quantities of counterfeit goods to customers directly.

Search Blogs

Blogs. Yes. Blogs. You'd be surprised how many blog sites that appear legit have articles with keywords that direct consumers to counterfeit sites.

These are just some of the ways that you can internally create a successful anti-counterfeiting strategy. You need to be vigilant as the threats to your brand grows. Sooner rather than later I hope, you will discover that in order to truly protect your brand from online counterfeiting, you will need to implement an algorithm-driven, round-the-clock approach to protect your brand not just from counterfeiting but from all the threats out there (too many to name in this post).
But, you should not be afraid. Implement a brand protection tool that is best for you so that you can get down to the real business at hand, and that is to promote your brand while it is being protected.