Importance of Educating Young Consumers in the Fight Against Counterfeiting?


Importance of Educating Young Consumers in the Fight Against Counterfeiting?
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Brands play a vital role in consumers’ lives, especially young consumers, who are introduced to their newer products with their growing age.

While the counterfeiting industry is gaining momentum, with as many as 42 million items detained last year, it becomes extremely important for brands to aware their young, potentially loyal customers about the harms of counterfeits.

Hence, educating young buyers is a crucial step that brands should never miss in order to protect their reputation as well as their customers’ safety.

However, the question lies in Why brands need to educate customers about counterfeiting and how will it be a Win-Win for both?

Let’s understand this with insights gained from a Brand Restrictions Study, View from Genzers and Millenials — the most potential market of age 13–39 years of age.

6 out of 10 consumers globally have a sense of emotional connection with the brands they prefer across different categories — with this connection being stronger in developing countries.

Consumers are more likely to have trust and loyalty for Tobacco & Baby products category than food & non-alcoholic drinks category. Why?

It is so because consumers themselves want to experiment with their food choices as per their varied moods; however, they prefer to stay loyal to a brand’s individual product for their carefree and joyous sessions.

Preference for products belonging to Tobacco and Baby Products category is strongly tied to the image of trust these Brands have built over the years with their consistent packaging, projecting a safe & trustworthy image in their minds.

The problem of counterfeiting occurs when counterfeiters tend to imitate these unwavering, loyal brands with their dubious constituents of what’s inside.

This is where the need arises to educate customers about these bad actors infiltrating their trustworthy commodities with fakes posing risks to their health & safety.

How can Brands educate Consumers for a Win-Win Situation?

In one of the memorable ACG conferences, a question was directed to a speaker about “how to change youth attitudes to buying counterfeits in a time of enormous social media influence”.

The speaker responded with an optimum and exemplary reply, saying:

“Maybe, we have to got to make [it] uncool.”

The answer lies in the astuteness of the response.

Brands need not always want to take a restrictive or legislative approach to educate young people, but a head-on way using the power of influence to make consumers understand the damage of counterfeited products.

“With that in mind, I am delighted to read that Harry Styles wants to see action on his own counterfeit problems. He has filed a lawsuit in the US against various online marketplaces selling unofficial merchandise” says the speaker.

One such initiative is driven by INTA’s unreal campaign focused on educating young minds (ages 14 -23) about the importance of trademarks and the danger of counterfeit goods. ‘

It has been spreading its arms by reaching more than 65,000 students from 45 jurisdictions since its unveiling in 2012.

With their absolute motive to say “No” to what’s Unreal and “Yes” to participating in the campaign, they have propagated awareness about counterfeiting practices through illustrative, relatable presentations, youth-oriented events, or virtual platforms, and through social media engagement.

Since young consumers have the most footfalls in commerce — and especially e-commerce — it becomes important for them to know the proliferation of counterfeit products worldwide.

More importantly, how stopping them links to good health & safety for the society; which in an otherwise cases leads to health & safety risks, organised crime, job layoffs, and even economic crisis.

When a young consumer is knowledgeable on identifying counterfeits and avoiding dubious traps, the derivative outcome of ‘not’ digging deep pockets of counterfeiters helps brands outshine with their authentic products — serving more jobs, less unnecessary investments & enforcements in brand protection & litigation, and eventually higher economic health.

And the knowledgeable consumer, in this social-media-driven world, must be the influencer who makes it “uncool” to buy counterfeits across commerce platforms.

Collaboration and participation of young minds is the key to curbing counterfeiting practices where brands provide the right information on the right product for the right purchase to influencers and growing minds through initiatives like Unreal Campaign — making it a Win-Win for both.



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Scanning more than 60 million parcels every month, Winner Open Innovation Challenge INTA 2023, and Intercepting 1000+ counterfeits each month