So was I, but not anymore answered the CEO.
The Chairman was startled. But our competitors have seen their stock values plummeting due to copycats infiltrating their sales channels, selling copies, eroding trust and brand value! We should be seriously worried about the same thing happening to us! he said in a tense voice.
The reason I'm not worried is that we're not neglecting the problem, as they have been doing until it was too late. We're already dealing with it. Preventing it from happening. The CEO answered calmly. If anything, our handling of the issue should increase our stock value.
That was a bold statement, another board member said. Please fill us in on how you're "preventing counterfeiters from copying our products and eroding our brand value".
Happily the CEO explained. Of course, we can't stop them from trying. But we can drastically reduce their chances of succeeding, at least not for long the CEO said. Since long, we have fought counterfeiters actively, but in the same old way as most others – through the legal system. Late, slow, cumbersome and expensive.
We've looked for ways to make it easy and fast to identify counterfeit products...at a decent cost that is straightforward to calculate. I mean, we sell volume products, not designer handbags. We need something fitting our industry. But we found nothing – until last year when we heard about isAuthentic by Blue Cromos, an innovative Swedish company.
Swedish? Ah well, they have good engineers and programmers, and a history of industrialised production, said a third board member.
The key for us was that it's easy, both when it comes to installation in our production and when authenticating in the field. You see, they don't add ANYTHING to either product or packaging! They work with what is there already. We didn't need to make any lengthy or costly installation in our production lines. They just added their scanners during a planned maintenance window, said the CEO.
When it comes to authentication in the field, all that is needed is a smartphone – hand-held, an app and ordinary light. We've equipped our reps and some others with the app, not the public, but it has been sufficient to give immediate and positive effects. They check both on suspicion and randomly, and nobody has contested the results so far. Copies are taken off the market much faster than ever before and our legal costs have decreased drastically. I can arrange a demo at the next board meeting, if you want? I mean, several of you sit on boards of other companies where this could be interesting, I believe.
Please do, several board members said.
By the way, said the CEO, maybe you've heard of the digital product passports that the EU will implement in just a few years? Blue Cromos have a solution for that too. Not for extracting all that information on environmental impact and all, but for managing it once you've laid your hands on it. Making it easy to maintain and to access, both for consumers, authorities and business partners.
Jane, aren't you on the board of that designer label pained by cheap knock-offs not even trying to copy their designs, just slapping a fake logo on to any old rag? Blue Cromos are on to that as well!
You're kidding, Jane said, I'll call them straight after we're done here!
Image by monkeybusinessimages on iStock