Brands are intrinsically dedicated to innovation and value creation, constantly striving to create, craft and build differentiated products to meet, and indeed exceed, consumer expectations.
Innovation is inherent to brands and comes in all forms, shapes and styles, whether with state-of-the-art facilities, ground-breaking science & research, advanced technologies improving product sustainability footprint or new ways to stay in touch with the ever-connected consumer.
Innovation is as old as brands themselves. The first branded good dates back to the 14th century, a beer that still exists today – albeit a version that has improved with the latest technologies in brewing! Innovation and value creation remain at the core of brands and consumer goods companies, particularly in today’s highly competitive, fast-moving, trend-switching world.
Research & Development lies at the heart of Innovation. AIM’s corporate members alone invested €14 billion annually in R&D in Europe, placing them in fifth place in the EU ranking for EU R&D investment.
In order to bring sustainable and innovative brands to European consumers, brand manufacturers continuously invest in research, science, new ideas, and innovative ways of doing things, including manufacturing equipment and processes. Brand manufacturers are highly capital-intensive companies as they must make a significant investment in assets relative to the amount of sales revenue those assets can produce. For brands manufacturers, it costs on average 98 cents in fixed assets to produce 1 euro of sales.
This significant and continuous investment of brands in innovation, research and consumer insights has clear benefits for society and the European economy. On the consumers’ side, brands provide a broad and widely available product range and diversity, enable consumers to conveniently distinguish different products, base their choice on informed judgments of quality, reliability and suitability, and ultimately deliver higher value from higher quality at competitive prices. From an economic point of view, branding is associated with a more dynamic response by producers to consumer needs and to competitive activity. Branded businesses invest more in innovation, which in turn leads to business and employment growth. In mature markets, growth does not come from selling the same products to more people, but is achieved through the trade of improved products and the development of completely new products.
In a world of constant change, consumers need signposts to recognise the goods and services that they choose to trust. A trade mark provides that signpost: the origin, the manufacturer, the quality – the trade mark is the surest way to communicate all of these essential properties to the world.
AIM’s dedicated Trade Mark Committee brings together in-house experts from our members to develop and communicate the brand owners’ voice in the elaboration of trade mark policy, working with Intellectual Property Administrations and Offices to promote and apply efficient and effective procedures for all applicants and owners of national, European and international marks – whatever their size.
Intellectual property-intensive industries account for almost 40% of all jobs generated in the EU and over 40% of the EU’s GDP. It is this very success that makes brands vulnerable to another of the world’s fastest-growing industries: counterfeiting and piracy, which now accounts for 3.3% of global trade (USD 509 billion) and 6.8% of all imports into the EU (USD 134 billion), a growth of 35% in just 3 years.
Any brand in any category, from toothbrushes to pesticides, faces this major threat. Counterfeiters prey on any market, and any consumer, where they see an opportunity to make illegal profit, avoiding all quality standards, trade regulations, tax liability and consumer protection in the race to maximise illegal revenues.
The AIM Anti-Counterfeiting Committee is the longest-standing and widest coalition of right holders fighting this menace at European level, bringing together our members with a broad representation of other companies and associations. We work closely with law enforcement and administrative authorities with the shared goal of developing and enforcing practical solutions that protect our consumers, businesses and economies against intellectual property infringement and theft.
Brands are now fully digital in all aspects of their business. From research and development, to production, level of customisation, logistics, distribution, sale and the services created with the products.
Brands are at the forefront of bringing the latest digital developments to consumers, whether through augmented reality experiences, personalised and customised products or online apps providing a more seamless service.
The digital environment is complex and to succeed for the long-term must rest on a level playing field, built on principles that apply to all players in the same way. Value creation and quality must be encouraged and promoted. It is key to ensure rules favour competition for the long term over short-term potential gains and provide the necessary legal certainty and enforcement capacity.
Retail has evolved dramatically over the past decade becoming increasingly digital and platform focused: The shelves are now digital and consumers are inspired and influenced in their digital journey by friends, peers, social networks, on-line communities that resonate with their values, countless reviews, shared data, linked information, to name but a few.
The new technologies have resulted in the opportunity for brands to demonstrate care, maturity, accountability and responsibility in introducing consumers to the new retail landscape that now heavily relies on online sales, marketplaces, creating value out of data, Augmented Reality or Artificial Intelligence.
AIM serves as a platform for its members enabling brands to pro-actively engage around these key issues.