Duplication of products


A serious issue in product planning unique to India, and in fact to Asian economies is a threat from counterfeits or duplicate products. It is not uncommon to see tooth paste in an identical pack, spelt “Coalgate’’, being marketed as the well-known brand Colgate in semi-urban and rural markets and also at railway stations and bus stations. Piracy is so common in Asian economies that in 1993, the US had to force the Thai Government to destroy thousands of pirated American pre-recorded video cassettes. Indian video libraries also mainly stock pirated cassettes.

The problem of counterfeiting is not limited to consumer products, video and audio cassettes and books, but is also rampant in the automobile components industry. According to the manufacturers’ association, the incidence of duplication in the industry is at least 40%, if not more. One can today get duplicates of leading brands of auto components in the market. It isn’t small retailers who are the only culprits. Large dealers and wholesalers also trade in them. In fact, MICO has had a problem fighting this threat and also other well-known brands like TELCO, Gajra Gears, Bharat Forge etc.

To fight this threat, the product planner or the strategists have to examine two issues:

(a) How serious is the threat from duplicates; and
(b) The strengths of the firm.

To fight duplicators the firm needs to have strengths in technology, finance and marketing.

Some of the strategic options available to a firm are described below:

(a) Customer Education
(b) Strong relationship with distribution network and inventory buildup at dealer level also called Strategy of Stock Pressure.
(c) Build brand loyalty.
(d) Lobbying with Government for protection.
(e) Maintain and Grow.