Corporate policy enforcement is often paradoxical. The two faces of humanity clash in the office. One is to compete for first place while the other appears to try to help others. As someone who is commissioned to protect specific brands from being tarnished, I find myself in a position to tangentially help brands with whom I do not work. I choose to do so out of goodwill. I find that the practice of selflessness is something that brings me happiness.
The competition method is to make it so difficult for criminals to counterfeit your brand that they counterfeit others brands instead. This is not terrible, but also not constructive outside the shareholder meetings. In other words, the end result is more money. Nothing else. That may be enough for some, but others see there is a bigger picture.
I was at a policy roundtable the other day and, when I expressed this concept, another participant disagreed. His brilliant example was neighborhood watch. He told me that the purpose of neighborhood watch is to cause the burglars to go to your neighbor’s house instead of yours. I had to turn around to see if I was on candid camera. Really, dude? How much was your bill from law school? Was there an ethics class or two? Do they have a refund policy? Remind me not to move to his neighborhood. Neighborhood watch was set up to help neighbors protect each other. This actually is a great example of the ‘Whole World’ approach.
I believe brands need to work more with each other as a policy. Organizations like the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition are set up to assist brands in helping one another. This great organization, in fact, is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year.
The question I pose is this: Is it morally wrong to exclaim the dangers of counterfeiting professing the Whole World message while practicing the Competition method?
I say it is. Helping your neighbor is its own reward.
Now, I’m going to finish my coffee.