With Counterfeiting on the Rise, Brand Security Plays a Vital Role to Both Large and Small Brands

According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce®, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes of modern time. Once a cottage industry, counterfeiting has become a sophisticated network of organized crime, accounting for 5 to 7 percent of world trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year.

Until relatively recently, the black and grey market economies did not pose a significant threat to brand owners. The black market operates illegally outside government-sanctioned channels with the buying and selling of goods and services, while commodities in the grey market are distributed legally, but through channels that are unauthorized by the original manufacturer-commonly referred to as diversion. Customers who would frequently shop in one of these two markets now have the ability to browse the Internet for the same products, posing an even deeper threat to a brand’s reputation and integrity, impacting the world’s biggest brands and smaller brands alike.

With the growth of global brands and the Internet, brand owners face threats from counterfeiters and brand pirates who are attempting to generate large profits by illegally producing credible look-a-like products to sell at deeply discounted prices. Brand owners are being forced to take a closer look at their supply chains and police the whereabouts and authenticity of their products at all times.

In the past, such luxury and high-end goods as designer clothes and accessories, spirits and perfumes, were most likely to be counterfeited. However, times have changed with technological advancements in digital imaging, cameras, scanners, artwork software, color and inkjet printers, aiding counterfeiters and brand pirates to generate a profit from any branded item-pharmaceuticals, electronics, software, cigarettes, hardware and food items like baby formula. Even automobile and aircraft parts are being counterfeited. It has been reported that the majority of counterfeited goods are coming from China, North Korea, Taiwan, India, Russia and parts of Africa.

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has led to extreme outcomes, including consumer fatalities, which illustrates the importance of brand security. The Food and Drug Administration saw an 800 percent increase in the number of new pharmaceutical counterfeit cases between 2000 and 2006. According to The Lancet*, the world’s leading general medical journal, counterfeit pharmaceuticals will generate $75 billion in revenues in 2011, a 92-percent increase from 2005.

Taking a Defensive Stand
Diversion, pirating and counterfeiting not only have a negative impact on the revenues and profitability of legitimate companies, but they also impact the credibility and reputation of a brand. Counter measures against these practices must be taken throughout the supply chain-from the brand owner, supplier and distributor to the wholesaler, retailer and ultimately, the consumer.

It’s crucial that brand owners stay attuned to brand security in today’s market and become familiar with the array of available anti-counterfeiting solutions. Ignoring the importance of brand security is not an option, because once the damage is done, the cost to repair it can be far in excess of what it would have cost to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To ensure their customers only receive the highest quality and safest products, brand owners have a broad range of anti-counterfeiting solutions at their disposal to protect their brand positioning and brand promise.

It’s recommended that brand owners ask themselves the following questions before implementing a brand protection strategy:

1. What level of security-low, medium or high-do we want to build into our packaging design?
2. Do we want to check for counterfeiting at the shelf or at the warehouse? Do we want our customers to be able to check for counterfeiting at the point-of-purchase by using a visible authentication feature?
3. How much do we want to invest in brand security?
4. How are we going to ensure consistency of our brand security on a global level?

Pressure-sensitive technology is versatile. It enables intricate designs and complex die-cuts, creating labels that jump from the shelf. But even more so, the array of materials, when combined with special printing techniques, can become a metaphor for the product itself.

Layered Protection
With threats to brand security rapidly growing, the need to differentiate fake products from genuine ones is increasing, as well as the need for more advanced authentication technologies that thwart counterfeiters. However, it’s important that brand owners understand that even the most sophisticated anti-counterfeiting solutions on their own cannot prevent counterfeiting 100 percent, but can signal an alert when a threat exists and thereby encourage action to be taken.

In recent years, anti-counterfeiting measures have become increasingly complex and bolstered by the installment of different layers of security. Many of today’s technologies are used in conjunction with other security features that work in concert to heighten the overall level of protection. For example, a low-level of anti-counterfeit technology that is visible to the consumer is combined with a high-level security feature containing a covert or forensic technology. The more layers of security a brand owner applies, the more difficult it becomes for their brand to fall victim to counterfeiting, pirating or diversion.

The most common anti-counterfeiting technologies employed by brand owners include:

1. Overt technology: This level of protection is visible to the naked eye, and allows the brand to be authenticated without the need of a special inspection tool. Overt technology offers only basic protection against counterfeiting, whereby:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-watermarks, paper color or visible fibers embedded in the paper.
ii. Security threads-threads are embedded in the paper and are made of a film, making a label hard to copy.
iii. Two- or three-dimensional holograms-standard holograms are used mainly for decorative purposes, but customized holograms can be powerful tools in security applications.
iv. Tamper-evident films, paper and voids-destructible/frangible films, papers and void materials show destruction upon tampering. Void labels leave a customized “VOID” alpha numeric or geometrical-shape message on the substrate when the label is removed.

2. Covert technology: The security device is not visible to the naked eye, but can be detected by a low-cost inspection tool, such as an UV light, magnifying glass or plastic film overlay. The type of tool depends on the specific protection technology used. Covert technology is an advanced level of protection with hard-to-copy security features and some level of personalization:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. Customized security papers-UV luminescent fibers embedded in the paper, chemical protection or verification with a special reactant pen.
ii. Non-visible security threads. Customized security threads can contain ultraviolet (UV) reflection and microprints.
iii. UV prints-various colors and designs can be printed in the laminate of a facestock or liner. Standard and customized UV prints are available.
iv. Infrared (IR) taggants-can be applied randomly in the paper, a self-adhesive laminate or in a custom spectrum that works as a unique signature. IR readers can be tailored to match the custom spectrum, giving off a signal when the right taggant percentages are detected. Uniquely encoded, IR taggants are virtually impossible to duplicate.
v. Inorganic taggants-can be added to inks, coatings, varnishes, adhesives, plastics, etc. Authenticity is confirmed using a special reader that gives off signals when a particular taggant is detected.

3. Forensic technology: These security devices are not visible to the naked eye, are hidden within the product and require laboratory analysis for authentication. Forensic technology is the highest level of protection from unique and personalized security features:

a. Devices can include, but are not limited to:

i. DNA taggants-microscopic or nano materials that are uniquely encoded for a brand. Provides a forensic chain of evidence that is trusted by police and recognized by courts globally. Large botanical DNA is acquired and then segmented, shuffled and reassembled to form a unique secure signature DNA marker that becomes patented technology. DNA taggants cannot be counterfeited, digitally copied, scanned or re-engineered.

To effectively deploy one of these technologies requires close collaboration between the brand owner and technology supplier.

Brand security is an investment that directly impacts the bottom-line for a consumer packaged goods company. It does this by protecting the brand from counterfeiting and diversion. And it also protects the brand owner from potential liabilities should a counterfeit product result in a consumer injury. Due diligence to protect your brand is a vital strategy that cannot be overlooked.

Earn More With Automotive Jobs

Even though there are several industries that offer stable jobs in many individuals, one of the most in job today is the automotive industry. It is one among the most thriving industries nowadays and it has not only left a trademark on the economy but also all over the world. This is significantly involved in selling vehicles, marketing, developing, designing and producing.In addition, it also manufactures different vehicles that are powered by gasoline, such as motorcycles, airplanes, trucks, buses and cars, and also all vehicles that are powered by electricity like trains. With the development of automotive industry, there is also a great development in automotive jobs, such as auto repair, store manager, automotive service manager and automotive technician jobs.The automotive jobs mentioned above also bring big amount of income to the economy. It gives a fundamental support for an extensive range of associated industries and other services. The sedan has now converted from an expensive thing to your daily needs. It is also now considered as a status symbol and once you have it, others can describe the stability of your living.Also, with the fast growing of technology today, there are now various kinds of cars available everywhere. From the extremely abundant and trendy vehicles down to the cheapest car that can fit your budget. As the progress and competition arises, there are more and more of various models of vehicles that come out in the market.Moreover, as the models of cars increases, it also provides every consumer a freedom to pick the best car he or she desires and will fit his or her everyday needs and requirements. Since there are lots of car loans that were offered by the banks, it has become more accessible to acquire a vehicle of your own. Due to the lofty rivalry and the use of modern technology in making automobiles, some sedans can also be bought at a very affordable price.These aspects helped very much in growing numbers of various models of vehicles as well as new jobs in the industry of automotive. These are some of the reasons why there is an exponential development in automotive industry. It also becomes a profitable business in today’s economy. In addition, if you hold an automotive school degree, then you are capable of working in this kind of industry since there are several kinds of work that you can go to.

Do Not Settle For The First Car Insurance Quote You Obtain

If you are shopping around for a new motor vehicle, your purchase need to go hand in hand with acquiring a car insurance quote. As soon as you drive your new vehicle off the dealership’s floor you are at risk of getting in an accident or you can be hijacked on your way home, consequently you have to have your car insurance policy in place previous to getting behind the controls of your car for the very first time.There are many variables that would influence the car insurance quote that you will obtain. Causes such as your age, gender and driving history are all examples of such variables. The price of the car in question will also play a role, as will the number of nominated drivers on the vehicle.Never settle for the first car insurance quote you receive. Try to contrast and compare as many quotes as possible – no less than three or five. In case you are uncertain about the terms and conditions associated with your policy, make certain to discuss this with your insurance agent or insurance broker prior to signing your contract.One of the points that may perhaps result in a lower car insurance quote is opting for a higher excess amount. An excess amount is essentially the difference between the price for repairing your vehicle and the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. Say for instance you must repair your bumper after a small accident and the repair price is R10 000. The insurance company agrees to pay R8 000. Your excess amount (payable by you!) is then R2 000. The greater your voluntary excess amount, the lower your associated premiums (usually!). Just be careful that you do not pick such a high excess amount that you would not be in a position to honour the payment when it is time to put in a claim!Also keep in mind that your car insurance quote will typically only give you an indication of your first year’s premiums. An essential issue to remember is that your insurance premium is likely to increase on a yearly basis. You might be thinking that this is not making sense, as the value of your car is in fact decreasing year after year and thus the insurance providers’s subsequent risk is lower. On the one hand that is true, but remember that the cost for repairing your vehicle (parts and labour) increase every year and insurance firms have to cater for this increased cost by increasing your premiums.Often times an insurance business will provide a car insurance quote, but your insurance policy will only be activated as soon as you’ve taken your vehicle for an inspection. These inspections are necessary as insurance firms must make certain that you are not trying to insure a car with an existing problem and that all the security features (such as an alarm system, immobilizer etc) stipulated on the contract are indeed in place.Obtaining a car insurance quote is really not difficult. Research your options, compare a couple of quotations and make an informed decision.

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