Harvard Business Review Case Study Commentary: Can Knockoffs Knock Out Your Business?

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How far should a CEO go to stop counterfeiting? Do fake goods help or damage the brand? An analysis on " Can Knockoffs Knock Out Your B...

How far should a CEO go to stop counterfeiting? Do fake goods help or damage the brand? An analysis on "Can Knockoffs Knock Out Your Business", a Harvard Business Review Case Study.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

Bradson’s response seems to be a knee-jerk reaction rather than a well thought out strategy. By solely going after the counterfeiters, he is missing on several important opportunities and has made the fight far too personal for good business.

Realistically, counterfeiting is not about to be eliminated, especially given the manufacturing power of developing countries, where new factories simply spring up to continue producing fake goods when others are closed. However, this does not mean that Bradson should completely stop his war on counterfeits, but take a two front approach.

On one front, he should continue to shore up his brand and the availability of the product by the opening of stores and aggressive marketing of the product. Partnering with other local players, such as department stores, will also help him to open up more market channels.

Further aggressive marketing of their anti-counterfeiting techniques, especially the presence of a serial code on each product, will help to educate customers and help them make an educated choice, since those who are determined to buy a knock-off would buy it regardless.

On the other front, he should continue to target the largest counterfeit manufacturers in order to scare off but the most determined. However, his target should be to make an example of illegal manufacturers rather than to completely stamp the trade out. For one, it would be an impossibility, and the law of diminishing returns will make that a expensive proposition.

We already know that knock-off goods has the added effect of being free marketing, and even may help to build market share. Even if 500 people initially buy a fake Ruffin, there will be people in there who want to luxury of owning a real product and purchase it.

With this two-front approach, Bradson will be able to turn a disadvantage into an advantage while not sacrificing his own goal of attacking counterfeits, and also increasing sales and brand visibility.


Photo credit: red hand records

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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Harvard Business Review Case Study Commentary: Can Knockoffs Knock Out Your Business?
Harvard Business Review Case Study Commentary: Can Knockoffs Knock Out Your Business?
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Karn G. Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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