Business division: Brand Management Office
Person in charge: Head of Brand Management Office, Mr. Shin Hasebe
Business category: Cosmetics manufacturer
Issues: How should brand protection business be conducted?

Background of introducing the service

Success of “Wrinkle Shot”

Deciding factor of introducing the service

One-stop solution from monitoring to enforcement

Impacts after introducing the service

Dependable support through clear proposals in response to our requests

Risk of counterfeit goods that the company encountered for the first time

We commenced our full-scale anti-counterfeiting measures around 2018. It was triggered by the discovery of counterfeit goods of Japan’s first medical wrinkle improvement cosmetic “Wrinkle Shot” that we released the previous year. Based on our business model of internally handling research, production and distribution and directly delivering our products to customers, it was extremely rare for us to encounter the infringement of our brand by a third party in comparison to other companies, and we faced the risk of counterfeit goods for the first time with “Wrinkle Shot”.

Back then, “Wrinkle Shot” was also starting to gain popularity in China, and the “shopping spree” of buying up brand products also hit the news. I believe that these circumstances also played a part in the gradual actualization of our brand risk. With “B.A”, which is one of our brands, groundless information was spread on social media sites, and we started to come across some brand infringement cases. Since it was also a time that the company was attempting to expand its presence in overseas markets including China, counterfeit goods became an urgent issue, and also a major obstacle.
Under these circumstances, certain team members of our Corporate Planning Division commenced anti-counterfeiting measures. Nevertheless, without any experience and know-how, there was no prospect of improving the situation at all. While the team members were still in a panic, counterfeit goods started to come into Japan from overseas, and our customers started to contact us about counterfeit goods, and time just passed by without any hand to play. And when we were trying to come up with a solution on our own, we recognized the existence of professionals for the first time.
We met IP FORWARD through the introduction of one of our employees. In addition to IPF’s track record of implementing anti-counterfeiting measures in both Japan and China, we were also told that IPF is participating in government projects. Which is why we thought IPF could be reliable, and had numerous conversations with them. IPF’s one-stop solution from the monitoring of counterfeit activities and the actual enforcement against distributors was a great appeal for us. This is the reason that we decided to use IPF’s services.

Counterfeit goods only cause damage in our business expansion

Personally, because I was transferred to a different business division after we concluded our contract with IP FORWARD, I started working with IPF again after about 2 years, and I felt that IPF was more deeply into our problems than at the beginning of our relationship. Back then, there were cases where we were unable to elicit IPF’s full potential and use all of IPF’s strength, but now IPF offers all sorts of suggestions based on data. I feel that IPF is sharing issues in the same manner as our employees, and that we are able to coordinate with IPF in an ideal manner.

The speed that counterfeit goods are being distributed is faster than the time that we started our anti-counterfeiting measures, and today relatively reasonable products, such those priced at around 4,000 yen, are also being targeted. In addition to updating relevant information and countermeasures, we are highly dependent on IPF for their specific proposals in dealing with brand infringement through a spoofing account with social media sites, and other cases that we have no idea how to handle.

To enable our customers to purchase our products with a sense of security

The “POLA” brand has a mission of providing a wonderful time to our customers. We often talk about things like this within the company. In addition to the business division, what can an indirect division like us do to provide a wonderful time to our customers? That’s our ultimate goal, and I believe that a sense of security is the most important aspect.

When a customer buys, or thinks about buying, a POLA product, the sense of security in knowing that the product is real is extremely important. The mission of our Brand Management Office is to create an environment where our customers will not have to buy our products by thinking, “Are these fake?”, and I believe that this is a hidden value even from the perspective of brand protection.

Walking side by side to solve our problems

Thanks to IPF, we’re able to take anti-counterfeiting measures in a systematic manner, but we hope to overcome, as soon as possible, the situation where we need to anticipate the risk of counterfeit goods each time that we launch a new product. In the end, it is essential to reach the upstream of the manufacture of counterfeit goods and deal with the actual manufacturers, and we are currently discussing the possibility of swinging the balance from there. I hope that we can strengthen our teamwork even more going forward by placing emphasis on this point.

With our 100th anniversary coming up in 2029, how should we carry out our brand protection business? That will be our challenge for the time being. And what can we do so that our customers can enjoy an even more wonderful time? I hope that we can come up with these answers together with IPF. I look forward to continue working with IPF to achieve these goals.

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