OpSec: brand protection solutions in fighting counterfeits
OpSec is the market leader in fighting counterfeits, with three decades of experience safeguarding brands including many of the world’s largest licensed properties, providing cost-effective, integrated solutions in the areas of product authentication, royalty tracking, supply chain visibility, licensing management, consumer engagement and e-commerce monitoring and enforcement. Its comprehensive brand protection solutions provide licensors with valuable brand intelligence to protect revenue streams, product integrity and brand reputation.
Interview with Alessandra Vercelloni, Brand Protection Director for Southern Europe.
L.I. In order to show the services provided by OpSec, could you illustrate some projects done in the latest months?
A.V. One of the most recent successes achieved by OpSec involved the CLPA – Collegiate Licensed Properties Association – an American association that brings together more than 180 colleges and universities, established to safeguard and protect the multiple institutional brands from counterfeits, avoiding the loss of royalties.
The colleges’ merchandising is particularly affected by the problem of counterfeiting due to the strong demand from students, who often have access to a limited budget, with obvious damages for brands.
Therefore, the CLPA brands not only wanted a comprehensive authentication and brand protection program, but they needed assistance with royalty tracking so they could better audit the licensing fees due to member colleges, and track authentic merchandise manufactured by their growing list of more than 2,500 authorized licensees.
The combination of physical and online brand protection delivered by OpSec has dramatically streamlined the CLPA’s authentication program to protect member schools, enabling them to more productively stop issues immediately, rather than waiting weeks or sometimes even months. The authentication program provides distinctive branding and easy verification of authentic CLPA merchandise, offering the intelligence the CLPA needs to ensure that labeled merchandise has been produced by genuine licensees. In fact, OpSec’s online strategy enabled the CLPA to remove nearly 1 million unlicensed products from the web in 2012, with an estimated commercial value of $21,467,883. In another case, they were able to shut down 300 unapproved sites within a 48-hour period. The partnership with OpSec allows the CLPA to deliver the most effective anti-counterfeiting solution in the collegiate licensing industry
L.I. How is moving your market and which is 2015 trend in your opinion?
A.V. We see advances in mobile technology that are allowing consumers to really play an important role in the fight against counterfeits. When consumers scan codes found on the product security labels, the brand owner can match those codes against its database to determine whether a product sold is authentic and where it was expected to be sold. This information can be very useful tracking down channels distributing unlicensed, grey market or counterfeit products.
In turn, the brand can use this to engage directly with their loyal consumers and reward them for purchasing authentic goods. For example, the consumer could enter the codes on a designated website earn points or credits that they can use to obtain music, games, videos or other valuable benefits from the brand owner. The marketing information that results from these relationships with consumers is nearly priceless, and it is doubly remarkable that this information can be generated out of a licensing arrangement that is itself producing direct revenue for the brand.
Consumer engagement and mobile authentication programs will only get smarter in the years to come as the technology continues to advance. The possibilities for interaction will be virtually endless.
L.I. Regarding the Licensing area, which is the added value offered by OpSec to Licensors?
A.V. Many of the world’s most recognizable brands have trusted OpSec for decades to protect billions of dollars in product revenue because we are at the forefront in building customized, physical anti-counterfeiting, tracking and online anti-fraud solutions. OpSec is a one stop shop for those licensors who are looking for seamless integration of the following services in their protection programs.
PRODUCT AUTHENTICATION: OpSec delivers overt, covert, and forensic security that allows for verification by you, customs, investigators, law enforcement and consumers. OpSec goes the extra mile, supporting education programs for consumer awareness and enforcement training.
ROYALTY PROTECTION: OpSec delivers increased licensee accountability by requiring serialized authentication labels on all authorized licensed products – labels are used as a check against internal royalty reports. OpSec fulfils to a network of over 5,000 licensees worldwide.
PRODUCT TRACKING: OpSec ensures maximum protection by marking each licensed product with a unique serial number to track the sales and shipment of each licensee and product over a specified time frame. We help you monitor licensee manufacturing operations — identify over-production, third-shift activity, and grey market diversion.
INTERACTIVE CONSUMER MARKETING: OpSec puts brand owners in control of a website that enhances the fan experience by allowing them to use the serial number from their authentication device to obtain gifts and enter sponsored sweepstakes. OpSec is able to provide brand owners information about the products their consumers are buying, and where they are buying them.
LICENSING MANAGEMENT: OpSec software enables licensors to streamline the licensing workflow for artwork distribution, design approvals, and license management. Helps reduce licensing program costs and resource utilization by simplifying and automating processes.
ONLINE BRAND PROTECTION: OpSec monitors and removes the sale of counterfeit goods, unauthorized distribution, and illegal use of intellectual property. Detects and deletes illegal digital content from cyberlockers and video hosting sites with anti-piracy solutions.