Customers Deserve Authenticity

Consumers are losing brand trust – they are searching for authenticity but are coming up short. Recent customer surveys show a deterioration in the perception of customer trust in national brands. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, 88% of consumers surveyed said “trust” is critical when deciding which brands to buy or use.

Research shows brand trust is at an all-time low especially when online shopping is at an all-time high. Inspection of product authenticity is beyond the capabilities of most marketplace platform sellers – they just buy and sell, reducing transaction friction is all important.  With this comes opportunities for counterfeit goods and damage to brand trust that may have taken years to build.

Maintaining brand trust used to mean consistently delivering a good product at a reasonable price. But now, people want more. Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2020 found 64% of today’s customers are belief-driven buyers. They think brands “can be a powerful force for change,” and they use their wallets like votes to support those willing to take a stand.

Educating the Customer

In this climate, it is imperative brands engage customers to assure them that their products reflect customer values but achieving this is anything but simple.  Providing product and brand information can be approached using technologies such as QR codes but ensuring these act as safe platforms from which to communicate brand integrity means not only that they are used, but lead customers to legitimate destinations.  At Crane Authentication, our label technology uses strong visual features compatible with the integration of barcodes, QR codes and packaging to deliver customer education intuitively.

At a recent security and authentication conference, Crane Authentication’s Business Development Director Richard Einhorn said, “Brand owners have a big responsibility to educate the customer by designing intuitive brand packaging that focuses on brand logos, premium design looks and an easy package opening experience. You have less than a second to authenticate and educate the customer, so integrating overt technologies is important. You have to capture their attention, make it easy to access your brand’s information and then, communicate your message, in a personalized way.”

For example, think of a cash transaction. How long does it take to know and understand the banknote is real? Usually, it takes less than a second for a consumer to gauge the authenticity of a banknote.

We know this because Crane Authentication’s parent company, Crane Currency is a world leader in the production of banknotes and has been supplying the United States government with paper for US currency for over 140 years, as well as the blue Micro-Optic strip used in the $100 note since 2011.

Crane Authentication delivers this trust factor to brands and product authentication through its PROFOUND™ Micro-Optics which provide currency-level security for products people buy and interact with every day.

How does it work?

PROFOUND™ Micro-Optic labels by Crane Authentication are intuitive to authenticate and difficult to replicate.  

Top-quality products and brands will always strive for packaging which communicates customer value.  PROFOUND™ Micro-Optics help brands attain this with effects that engage consumers at first glance with clear call-to-action in any lighting conditions, and with eye-catching designs.   

At Crane Authentication, we believe consumer engagement is critical to product authentication, so we engineered PROFOUND™ Micro-Optics to include brand logos, crisp movement effects and three-dimensionality.  These secure not only the product but call attention to QR codes and other features to provide an authentication solution that is integrated, intuitive and connected.

How to navigate the future in a world of counterfeits

Customers deserve authenticity – we all do. We are living in times when we demand more from brands and want to see our values reflected in them. A recent study by the Payments Association found that during times of economic hardship, financial crime can increase by 75%-100% over current levels. Economic conditions promoting higher price inflation and increased scarcity of goods are accelerants for counterfeit goods.

Customers need assurance their hard-earned money is spent on authentic products supplied by companies that share their values and beliefs.

Today, brands have new means to bridge the information and authenticity gap. By providing public features that attract attention through strong 3D and movement effects, integrated with QR codes, companies can provide a secure, attractive and engaging entry point to their brand’s values and the product’s authenticity. This is a solution that is at hand today, and one that can play a role in addressing the most pernicious attributes of counterfeited products, exploitive labor practices and environmental degradation to name just two. It is time for brands to act more transparently than ever. The combination of overt and secure features with easy-to-use authentication tools like QR codes can be responsive to this need and deliver the authenticity customers deserve.