Tuesday, July 26, 2011

To Fight the Brand Bandits – in the Front Lines and Online – Become a Whistle-Blower.

Chinese officials have found five fake Apple stores in the southwestern city of Kunming,” reads one article lead, in stately fashion. (Reuters has done a spectacular job of documenting the brand theft in photos like the one above.)

Isn’t it shocking. The Chinese caught stealing brands. Again. In case you missed the last time I blogged about this (“Ripped Off” here), let me remind you that there is little respect for the sanctity of brands in “Land of the Big Exports.”

There’s also little enforcement inside the country. And apparently little punishment to “evil-doers” in this connection. Not terribly surprising when news covers human tragedies on a Somalia or even Norway scale.

Still, maybe you care enough to ask yourself, “What can I do to help stop brand theft? How can I help preserve the value of a brand that I love – or at least respect?”

Well, you could start by reading the “Brand Counterfeiting” blog post by Lee Grayson. Make a new career of it by attending the next Anti-Counterfeiting & Brand ProtectionTM conference – that would be in NYC at the end of September.

Or you can simply out brand thieves by taking it to the Internet, whether you see something major like a Chinese retailer skanking the Starbucks brand or a neighborhood video dealer with a hand-painted Mickey Mouse. Drop a dime (email a photo of the offending store or label) to the legal department of the brand owning company. Do your duty as an advertising person, as a brand marketing, as a corporate communicator. Blow a whistle.

Each of the US brand names in this post is protected by one or more trademarks. All rights reserved. “Land of the Big Exports” is a favored nickname invented by Mshimwoman on Yahoo.com – other options include “The Middle Kingdom” and “Sleeping Dragon.”

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