I saw this very interesting news item recently about an Australian wine manufacturer using a new form of track and trace technology.
Whereas this is not the first technology that claims to track genuine products in an attempt to solve the counterfeit problem, (and I have no idea how good or bad this particular technology is, either in isolation or in comparison to other products on the market), anything that meaningfully addresses a particular traders’ issues in China (and anywhere else it may find counterfeits), and has a positive impact, is worth applauding.
Education and awareness
What caught my attention however, and what is not mentioned in the article, is how the brand plans to communicate this technology to the purchasing public, as they will be the ones using the technology to check that what they are about to purchase is genuine. I am a strong believer that brand owners could take more steps to educate their consumers about the real risks of counterfeiting and am always on the lookout for new approaches or messages that successfully catch consumers awareness.
You would think this would be a reasonably easy message to get across in respect of products like wine - which are not cheap and, more importantly, are to be ingested. And yet it doesn’t seem to be happening on any sizeable scale.
Surely consumers are keen to ensure they are buying genuine products? Wouldn’t steps that show the brand owner is seeking to “protect” it’s customers provide reassurance (and a well-deserved USP)? Especially to those consumers who regularly say in surveys that they think the brand owner has a lot of the responsibility to ensure counterfeits are kept off the market?
Taking greater steps to raise consumer awareness as well as asking them to actively participate in the verification process can only be a good thing, in my view. Not just for the level of comfort it gives to the consumers of the particular products affected, but also for the drip feed of communications to consumers, thereby gradually, almost subliminally, raising awareness about the vast array of counterfeit products and problems out there.
This article was first published by Stuart Adams on LinkedIn