A modern company’s brand is among its most important assets, and the protection of that brand is vital to long-term corporate success. Accordingly, brand protection efforts seem to increase each year, as companies strive to stay ahead of counterfeiters and maximize their return on product investment.
On a larger scale, brand risk undermines economic development and open international trade while posing serious risks to consumers. Global Financial Integrity’s most recent report on transnational crime identifies counterfeit and pirated goods trade as the most profitable illicit trade covered in its research and estimates that the global trade in such goods generates between $923 billion to $1.13 trillion annually.1 The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) 2017 “Special 301 Report,” which reviews the global state of intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement, identified widespread IP infringement.2 Given the significant challenges posed by continued counterfeit and IP risk, there is clearly still much work to be done in the field of prevention.
In 2014, Consero conducted a three-question survey to brand protection professionals exploring trends in the world’s ten largest economies at the time. Consero recently conducted the same survey to analyze change over time and received 75 responses.
Survey participants were asked to rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, what they perceived as the level of safety of their brand in 10 countries. The results of this question yielded a single score for each country, which we have labeled as its Brand Protection Index Report Score. Participants also ranked their level of confidence in the ability of the governments of those countries to protect their brand against piracy and counterfeiting. The third and final question asked participants whether they believed the amount of government enforcement in each country had increased, decreased, or remained unchanged over the past year.
The report that follows offers an analysis of the collected data in order to shed light on the status of brand protection and anti-counterfeiting in the current business environment. By measuring perceived risk and evaluating the 2017 survey results against the 2014 results, we can learn much about where companies feel their brands are the safest, as well as where greater investment by them and by international leaders seems necessary in the ongoing battle for brand protection.