'Authentic' Is the Word of the Year in 2023!

There's no question, authenticity is what the world needs right now! Landing among the most-looked-up words in Merriam-Webster's 500,000 entries, authentic is the word of the year in 2023! According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 88% of consumers surveyed said “trust” is critical when deciding which brands to buy or use. And recent customer surveys show a deterioration in the perception of customer trust in national brands. 

Authenticity is crucial in a world of rising counterfeit products for several reasons:

1- Consumer Trust and Confidence:
We know ‘customers deserve authenticity’ and we talk about this often. Authenticity builds trust between consumers and brands. When customers can trust that the product they are purchasing is genuine, it strengthens their confidence in the brand. Consumers want authentic products – and simple ways of telling authentic products from fakes. This is how strong overt security features bring value – they bring trust to consumers by communicating intuitively that they have a genuine product.

2- Health and Safety:
Counterfeit products may not undergo the same quality control and safety standards as authentic ones. This can pose serious risks to consumer health and safety, especially in industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, and food.

3- Brand Reputation:
Counterfeit products can damage a brand's reputation. If consumers unknowingly purchase fake goods and have a negative experience, they may associate that dissatisfaction with the authentic brand. According to the consulting firm Accenture, brand perception drives consumer choices in over $5 trillion of retail purchases annually. 23% of consumers stopped buying a brand because of their perception of a lack of sustainability. Linking overt security features to additional online information about the brand (including commitments to sustainability) is a strategy used by leading brands, including NBA, Formula 1, and Harley Davidson.  

4- Economic Impact:
Counterfeit products often lead to economic losses for businesses. The main concern for brands’ efforts to reduce counterfeiting tends to be due to lost revenue and the reputational impact of having low-quality counterfeits in the market.  But there are other extremely serious side effects of counterfeiting. 
•  Large-scale counterfeiting is conducted by criminal groups, funding activities in other areas, including drugs, smuggling and funding of terrorist/extremist activities. 
•  Criminal gangs tend not to have strong environmental or ethical policies. They don’t care if fake baby milk leads to malnutrition; or fake HIV drugs lead to early deaths; or the impact of slave labor, or the environmental consequences.  

5- Innovation and Creativity:
Counterfeiting discourages innovation and creativity. If counterfeiters can easily replicate and profit from the hard work of others, there is less incentive for companies to invest in developing new and improved products.

6- Intellectual Property Protection:
Authenticity is closely tied to the protection of intellectual property rights. Counterfeiting involves the unauthorized reproduction of trademarks, patents, and copyrights, undermining the legal framework that supports innovation and creativity. Our films and labels are protected by multiple patents and years of trade secrets and know-how.

7- Supply Chain Integrity:
Counterfeit products often enter the market through illicit and unregulated supply chains. Ensuring authenticity helps maintain the integrity of the supply chain, reducing the risk of substandard or unsafe products reaching consumers.

8- Legal Consequences:
Companies can take legal action against counterfeiters to protect their intellectual property. Enforcing authenticity helps deter illegal activities and contributes to a fair and competitive market.

9- Consumer Experience:
Authentic products are more likely to provide the intended user experience, as they are designed and manufactured to meet specific quality standards. Counterfeit goods may lack the same level of performance, durability, or functionality.

10- Global Trade and Economy:
Counterfeiting has significant implications for global trade and the economy. It can distort market competition, hinder international trade relations, and result in the loss of tax revenue for governments.

Authenticity is essential not only for the well-being and satisfaction of consumers but also for the health of industries, economies, and the overall integrity of the marketplace. It requires collaborative efforts from brands, businesses, governments and consumers to combat counterfeiting effectively.