Posted: November 28th, 2013
Getting Real about Fakes
Counterfeit trade has really boomed, driving many companies to conduct huge campaigns against the illegal trade. However, very few of these companies have looked deeper into the reasons driving consumers to opt for the counterfeit goods. Their campaigns have involved threatening to sue the people behind the trade, rather than seeking to use messages that would work in these markets against the counterfeit trade (Chaudry and Stumpf 112). Most of them stress the quality, which might not be much of a consideration by most of the consumers buying the counterfeit goods. Companies need to know the root causes that drive consumers towards consuming counterfeit products if they are to conduct successful campaigns against the trade.
There are several reasons why consumers buy fake products despite being aware they are not legitimate. In several markets, U.S., Russia, India, China and Brazil, a study showed that five motivators that could drive consumers to buy fake goods. The fist being quality and performance, only in US did this matter. In other markets, this was just a slightly important matter that may not bother consumers much. The second factor was cost, where almost all consumers in the selected markets regarded this as a big reason for buying fake products. The third factor was sentiment, where consumers buy fake goods out of resentment for big companies. Several consumers claimed that big corporations use price gouging, where Chinese consumers did not regard it as a motivator for buying fake good. Americans showed more sentiment towards big companies while the other markets do not regard this as important to buying counterfeits (Chaudry and Stumpf 112). The fourth factor was ethics, where consumers buy counterfeit because they think it is illegal to buy them (Chaudry and Stumpf 113). Concerning ethics, it was found that people had different reaction to different products. Lastly, another factor contributing to counterfeit trade is the ease of getting the goods. In the different markets, there were different reactions with some consumers going for the counterfeit goods even after being hard to get.
Understanding these factors puts the legitimate companies in a better position of fighting against counterfeit trade since they have a chance to create better messages to the consumers. Some of the messages that could be used for a campaign against counterfeit goods could enlighten consumers that fake products are not the right substitutes. Companies should inform the consumers about the dangers of fake products and the risks they could face especially for health product such as drugs, to combat the factor of quality (Chaudry and Stumpf 112). On the issue of cost, companies can stress the point that pirates who offer fake goods are not out to offer help or act as patrons to the poor, but are interested in making a huge kill by selling goods below quality. The resentment towards big companies can be tackled through enlightening people concerning the huge revenues lost to the pirates, which could have gone towards better initiatives such as research and design for better products especially for goods such as drugs that could help people in the future (Chaudry and Stumpf 113). More so, they should emphasize the revenues lost by the country as whole. The big companies could also emphasize it is their efforts in research that pirates rely on. The fourth issue is ethical concerns, where consumers might buy counterfeit goods thinking thee is nothing wrong with them. Companies can urge to declare sale of counterfeit goods illegal and increase awareness to the people who might not be aware that purchasing counterfeit goods is unethical. The final issue that companies need to deal with is the ease at which the counterfeit goods are available. This is one of the most hard to deal with considering people can order them from home through the internet, where anonymity can be maintained. Companies can use tougher policing rule to ensure that any traded good is accounted for, and ensure tougher penalties (Chaudry and Stumpf 114).
In conclusion, counterfeit trade has greatly been on the rise for the past several years. To fight the counterfeit trade, companies will have to seek the reasons that drive consumers to buy counterfeit goods. This way, they can be in a position to know the messages to place for the consumers. More research would be needed, considering each market and product has shown differing results.
Chaudry, Peggy and Stumpf, Stephen. Getting Real About Fakes. The Wall Street Journal. 2009. Print.
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