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INTA’s new Strategic Partnerships & Economic Research Department is conducting work across a range of topics and countries, with the Brand Value Special Task Force, Generation Z, and bridge building with non-legal associations as its top priorities for 2018 and beyond. Sheila Francis, INTA’s Director, Strategic Partnerships & Economic Research, tells Sarah Morgan more.
In May 2017, the Association introduced its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, which has three core strategic directions: promoting the value of trademarks and brands, reinforcing consumer trust, and embracing innovation and change.
It is the first and second strategic directions that have contributed to INTA’s establishment of the Strategic Partnerships & Economic Research Department. The new department includes Ms. Francis and Renee Garrahan, INTA’s Economic Research Intern.
Its key initiative is to support the Brand Value Special Task Force, which was approved in March 2018 by the INTA Board of Directors and is charged with delving into the complex topic of brand value, brand equity, and brand valuation. Co-chaired by Heather Steinmeyer, an INTA Past President, and Doug de Villiers, INTA Advisory Director, this Special Task Force brings together a small team of members and non-members of diverse expertise, including brand and IP valuation, finance, economics, marketing, and tax, or a combination thereof.
Over the next two years, the Task Force will engage in focused research designed to provide a set of recommendations and actions for INTA to pursue, including how to help clarify the complex concepts and definitions borne out of the different brand valuation methodologies that currently exist.
"Intangible assets are recognized as highly valued properties. The most valuable but least understood intangible assets are arguably brands."
“Intangible assets are recognized as highly valued properties. The most valuable but least understood intangible assets are arguably brands. We are excited to have a multidisciplinary team of Task Force members to help us demystify the business value of brands,” says Ms. Francis.
Demystifying Generation Z and Attitudes Toward Counterfeits
The department is also building other aspects of INTA’s research depository. The Association’s Impact Studies Committee, now in its second term, and INTA staff continue to conduct and commission research studies that help to communicate the positive contributions of brands to the economy and society.
In 2018, in what will mark the Association’s first attitudinal study, INTA is set to initiate research exploring whether young consumers see an ethical problem in purchasing fake products. It will focus on Generation Z (born in 1995 to mid-2000s)—the largest proportion of young consumers by 2022. The study will cover 10 countries in different parts of the world
Consumer relationships with brands and counterfeits often live in the grey area of their ethical spectrums. It is critical for brand owners to better understand how young consumers’ decisions to engage with counterfeit products could be shaped by complex needs, mindsets, and contexts that can make authenticity more or less relevant. Ultimately, the question is: “Who do Gen Zs perceive as being damaged by fake products, and how does this align with this generation’s overall interest to be more authentic?”
“We see this as an important research gap that requires action,” says Ms. Francis, noting that the aim is to have the study results by the 2019 Annual Meeting.
Beyond this, throughout 2018 and 2019, the Association has an ambitious research agenda which includes potential studies on artificial intelligence, brand restrictions, and other topics. To learn more about the INTA’s research work and to request INTA to conduct a study, visit http://www.inta.org/Committees/Pages/ImpactStudiesCommittee.aspx
Reaching Out to Non-Legal Constituencies
Research activities are only one aspect of the responsibilities of the Strategic Partnerships & Economic Research Department. As INTA seeks to be even more outward-looking—developing additional ties with non-IP and non-legal constituents and associations—the team is also focusing on strategic partnerships.
“We don’t want to be reaching out to others only when there is a pressing issue. We need to build bridges before a crisis might occur,” says Ms. Francis.
The department works with three INTA committees to develop these ties: the Building Bridges Committee, to foster relationships with marketing associations, consumer groups, organizations that support small to medium-sized enterprises, associations that develop and promote sustainability and ethical standards, and retail and manufacturing organizations; the Brands and Innovation Committee, to build ties with technology-based groups; and the Impact Studies Committee, to boost contacts with other economic and research driven-associations.
The department’s work in collaboration with various INTA committees will build on the Association’s research foundation, spread the word about IP, and help drive the Association’s Strategic Plan into the future.
INTA, INTA18, Sheila Francis, Generation Z, counterfeits, anticounterfeiting committee, IP research