By Jackie Kuehlmann, director of marketing at Inland Packaging
According to PMMI (The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies), three-to-seven percent of total world trade is counterfeit, and counterfeiting is increasing by three percent per year worldwide. As a brand owner those numbers should be alarming. Specifically when you’re in the business of making products that your customers consume. The integrity of your brand is not to be taken lightly, especially in the nutraceuticals market–where there are new competitors throwing their name in the hat almost daily and we are seeing a dramatic uptick in knock-off products and blatant counterfeit products being sold online.
Brand Loyalty: Bad News Travels Fast(er)
News of product recalls and counterfeit products can trigger our ‘fight-or-flight’ response to a brand. When we sense a threat, or a counterfeit product, it can ‘freeze’ us right in our tracks and that alone can alter a customer’s buying behavior and brand loyalty. Depending on the relationship you have with your customers and how a product recall is handled, it could lead to customer avoidance of a product for a long period of time. Some customers may never return to the same level of trust and loyalty they once had with you.
Safety before Beauty?
With a sea of nutraceutical products on the shelf, brand owners use creative, eye-catching packaging to draw the attention of consumers. The idea of taking up prime real estate on the package to include security features can give a marketing team nightmares. The good news is today’s packaging security solutions can be built into the aesthetics of your brand packaging. They can be designed to be intuitive and trustworthy and don’t have to disrupt the impact of your brand aesthetics or the customers experience with your product.
Overt brand protection
Overt layers of brand protection are open and visible to anyone. They can be cost effective for brand owners and an easy way for consumers to say ‘Yes’ to your product. Because they are visible to anyone, overt levels of protection can also be most vulnerable to counterfeit reproduction. Overt brand security options can be designed into your existing brand elements. Holograms or color changing inks are available in a wide variety that can be activated by temperature, sunlight, UV light, water or pressure. Design elements can also be incorporated into your packaging that can signal evidence of tampering, such as micro-perforations and tamper-evident labels.
Covert brand protection
Covert layers of brand protection are not openly acknowledged or displayed and can provide even more protection especially for anti-counterfeiting, brand authenticity, or if your brand runs the risk of a product recall. Covert security technologies are typically managed and monitored by the brand team and tools such as readers are often required. Covert brand security can include UV fluorescing inks, IR inks (glow only at specific IR wavelengths). Taggent inks can be incorporated into your graphics and are invisible to the naked eye, authenticated only with special equipment and are extremely difficult to reverse engineer. For the highest level of covert security available, DNA forensic inks can be customized exclusively for you and are incorporated into your ink formulations. These solutions can be layered with overt solutions for maximum protection and deterrence.
Brand Integrity: Selecting the Right Solutions
Ultimately, you don’t need to choose between brand aesthetics and brand security. The choice lies in determining what options work best to strengthen the relationship and trust between your brand and customers. Applying the right amount of brand protection will help you deliver tangible solutions to protecting product recall, authentication, anti-counterfeit and gray market. It will also help you hold true to your brand values, brand ideals, and ultimately the relationship you have with your customer. Customers who choose to engage with your product and have a positive experience with your brand will confidently, and continually, say ‘Yes’ to your product.
Inland Packaging is a member of PMMI and will be showcasing overt and covert brand protection technologies at PACK EXPO East in April 2018. Visit us at booth 1323.
About Jackie Kuehlmann
Jackie Kuehlmann is an accomplished marketing professional with over 15 years of experience. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a Minor in Marketing from Winona State University. She is currently the director of marketing for Inland Packaging in La Crosse, WI. Prior to that, she held positions in graphic design and promotional marketing at Fastenal.