In this post, we explore blockchain brand protection and the use of augmented reality, in the next evolution of smart brand protection.
Smart brand protection refers to a brand protection solution that provides high security against counterfeiting of products and also allows for consumer engagement at the same time. It’s dual purposed nature makes it an excellent choice when it comes to protecting a brand.
As we move ahead into more varieties of smart brand protection in terms of brand protection solutions, more trends have emerged, and a few key technologies have been at the forefront in the fight against counterfeiting for businesses:
- Augmented reality
- Internet of Things
- Big Data Analytics
- QR Codes
The two that will specifically be explored in this post will be blockchain and AR.
Blockchain Brand Protection
Blockchain refers to a digital database that records transactions with both reliability and anonymity through software algorithms. This record of events cannot be changed once it is recorded and can be shared with many viewers. As such, blockchain has been highly regarded as the new age anti-counterfeiting solution. Being decentralized and immutable, blockchain is thought to be a game changer that provides visibility and transparency along the supply chain.
However, what many company executives do not understand is whether block-chain is necessary or even suitable for their business. Many simply jump onto the bandwagon without knowing the technology well enough and hastily chase the buzz in using blockchain for anti-counterfeit purposes.
With that being said though, blockchain is definitely able to offer transparency as an anti-counterfeiting solution – the unique ID of a product can be registered on a blockchain when produced. This assigned ID can then function as a link between the physical product and its digital marker on the blockchain. It can be used as a tracker along the distribution channels from manufacturer, to distributor, to retailer.
However, a key aspect of transparency depends on the integrity of the data that is first input. If the data that was input is wrong to start with, it would not be accurate at all. For example, a person who sprayed pesticides on an apple can still enter onto a blockchain system that the apples were organic. Therefore, the initial entry for supply chain tracking could be wrong, omitted or fabricated.
Blockchain does not magically make the data in them accurate or the people entering the data trustworthy. It merely enables a business to conduct audits to check whether any data has been tampered with.
Due to the fact that data on a blockchain is immutable, it often provides a false sense of security that misleads brand owners to select blockchain as a solution. As a standalone technology, blockchain itself is not a silver bullet to provide the best anti-counterfeiting solution, as with all other solutions highlighted across this blog. To further expand on that, If blockchain is primarily used for product authentication, then it would function like a highly secured database – highly pricy and excessive.
All things considered, the technology for blockchain is still in its infancy. However, in future, we believe that it would serve as a great component for supply chain visibility for businesses.
Augmented Reality (AR) Brand Protection
AR may seem like a surprising contender in the line-up of anti-counterfeiting solutions. After all, AR is an “overlay” of either audio or visual stimuli on a real world view. As such, AR is often used by marketers and brand owners to promote brands and enhance consumer experience.
In the realm of anti-counterfeiting solutions, AR technologies can be embedded within the printed design of a product packaging with multiple authentication points. Using a smartphone, consumers can then validate their product. Upon verification of a genuine product, virtual content will appear and increase the overall consumer experience and interaction with the product. High-quality interactive AR content helps brand protection to be more effective by engaging consumers.
Similar to blockchain, AR technology is not fully utilized to the best of its abilities as a main stream anti-counterfeiting solution yet. However, in time, it has the potential to become a fantastic consumer engagement feature, which is a key component in any successful brand protection solution.
While it is essential for brands to always keep abreast with the latest developments in brand protection solutions, the “newest” technologies in the market may not necessarily be the best solutions. Instead, that different brands and different products would find far greater benefits from a tailor-made brand protection solution. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to protecting brands.
A customized brand protection plan consisting of integrated and interlocking solutions would be any company’s best bet against the world of counterfeiting. Get in contact with your preferred brand protection specialists, or drop us an email to find out more.