Protect your brand from plagiarism
“How do I stop people from copying my product?”
That’s a question we often hear from our clients. The fear of getting copied is so great, that we see many people not taking steps to make their product in the first place, because they’re so convinced it will be knocked off!
Accept the things you cannot change
Imitation is impossible to stop, and that’s a fact we all have to accept.
Legal options such as copyrights, patents and trademarks can halt the blatant replication, but unless you are a global player, then the financial resources needed for this can be crippling – and it still doesn’t guarantee you will shut down the copies.
Even if you do manage to stop someone from copying your design, another will quickly rise to take its place. Now this sounds quite depressing doesn’t it? However, you can take small steps that don’t cost a lot of money to minimize the imitating, and still ensure your brand will create a loyal and supportive following.
Tighten your supplier / factory base
You can’t monitor the whole world, but you can monitor your suppliers. And when it comes to imitation, they are the ones that you want to be most concerned with. Somebody making cheap “knock-offs” is one thing, but if your factory starts selling your items “out the back door” then that is a major cause for concern. One way to try and limit this, is to ensure that the quantity you order is the quantity you actually receive. If the amount has more than 3% difference, then you may have a problem. Monitoring this is made even more difficult if you allow them to order the “raw materials”. Our recommendation is that you control the purchase of fabric, labels, tags, trims and accessories to ensure that you don’t over-order. Order just enough for the production quantity you plan to produce. You can even request vendors to blind ship the materials, so that the final supplier does not know their origin.
Be unique with your branding
We have many clients who have their labels and tags dyed to a unique and specific colour. This means that these items are not readily available in the markets or general supply lines, making them harder to copy. Even a simple white colour can be bleached in a certain way to make it almost impossible to copy with any certainty. This is a very simple and effective way to dissuade people who want to copy your branding.
You can create a special font. It may be a mix of various fonts, but don’t pick standard ARIAL. You are just inviting trouble. Alternatively, purchase an expensive font that is much harder for the fakers to find.
Break up production
If you are manufacturing different items, it can be useful to break up production so that no one supplier has enough information to produce your goods.
Say your product has three main components – A, B, and C. You would intentionally produce each of these components with separate suppliers, and then ship A, B and C to a fourth party (D) to assemble. Component D doesn’t have specs or instructions to make any of the individual parts, and the suppliers making A, B, and C don’t even know that the other exists!
You can even take it one step further by packaging or labelling your goods at a separate location (E).
While the E supplier could potentially siphon off the finished product, you would have an exact count of the quantity shipped to them and could ensure that this same quantity was shipped out.
Develop your own identity
The best and most lasting way to prevent copying and rise above the competition is to develop a rock-solid brand identity. This will encourage customers to seek out the ‘real thing’ instead of accepting a substitute. Your customer service strategy is a big part of this, especially for those with products that require education and maintenance.
People can easily copy a physical item or function, but they will have a much harder time replicating an entire brand identity. Building a rich, strong brand is the best long-term strategy for combating imitation and knock-offs in the marketplace.
Immago can ensure that your tags and labelling needs are produced 100% accurately, and to exacting standards. We have the reputation and integrity to do all we can to protect your brand from the scurrilous copy merchants.
If you would like to know more about our services, or how we can help protect you and your brand, contact us today.