Share This

Firms may employ different approaches to protect their products. Previous research has typologized the tactics that firms might use in differing ways; among these have been tactics associated with individual products, those undertaken with partners, and whether a tactic is internally or externally focused. Yet there has been no systematic consideration of all the tactics firms might employ in protecting their brands. This research seeks to identify all the tactics that firms might use in a total business solution to brand protection. We gathered suggested tactics from 42 respondents (representing ranks such as managers, directors, vice presidents), 33 representing global, widely recognizable brand-owning firms and the remainder from universities or associations. Altogether, our respondents suggested 1,347 tactics, of which 756 were unique (many respondents from differing firms suggested similar tactics). Using a grounded-theory approach, we classified these tactics into 12 categories and dozens of subcategories. We found some differences in suggested tactics by firm size, as well as in depth and breadth of suggested tactics. More important, however, we found the role of brand protection is far greater than what previous research and taxonomies suggest. We confirm the presence of previous tactics, but identify many more as well, affirming the relevance of a total business solution. These included categories of tactics supporting each of the six principles of the total business solution: emphasizing prevention, proactivity, and strategy; identifying the infringer as the unseen competitor; creating and relying on performance metrics and using data and analysis to mitigate risk; creating a culture of continuous improvement and embracing learning; highlighting the value of internal and external controls and mechanisms for detecting and responding to infringements; and promoting a holistic approach that integrates and coordinates all parts of the firm for brand protection. Future research based on larger, random samples of a broader variety of firms may find still additional tactics or map these tactics to larger strategies.

Read More