Bill Bronson: The Ruffin Company
Knockoffs are products that are changed or recreated from original designs by other companies. The fashion cycle is when an idea or a product is introduced, and becomes an increased demand over time if it is adopted by the consumer. The increased demand of a product forces the idea of production of illegal knockoffs. There are many reasons why people produce knockoff products, one of the main reasons is because it is cheaper and more widely available to consumers, unlike an expensive product that only a certain target market is able to afford.
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As for Bill Bronson, the CEO of the Ruffin Company, the leading provider of clothing, accessories, and recreational equipment for the adventurous target market. Bill Bronson was quite an explorer himself, which motivated him to start the Ruffin Company making gear and clothing. Bill Bronson’s company became a victim for production of knockoff products. Ted Dwayne, who is a client service director for Brand Protection Services, was hired by Bill Bronson to investigate the matter of producing false Ruffin products.
Ted is greatly experienced in law enforcement and private investigation. In his career, Ted has tracked down many counterfeiters that reproduced branded goods such as clothing, Jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, and even pharmaceutical products that could have potentially caused peoples’ lives. Counterfeiting is a highly organized worldwide business; it encourages and finances street crimes and international terrorism. Bill Bronson hired many detectives to explore the source of the knockoffs and track the illegal counterfeited Ruffin products.
He has an emotional experience tied down to the strict discovering of the fakes along the product line. Many months ago Bill experienced a situation that has left him emotionally distraught. His life was put in danger because of a knockoff. While diving under water, Bill was a wearing a special Ruffin watch that showed the time and depth of being under water. While Bill thought it was the original Ruffin watch, little did he know it was a knockoff which showed the wrong timing information.
This incident could have caused him his life, he had to spend days in and out of a recompression chamber and undergo oxygen treatments. Bill used the publicity from his experience to demonstrate how knockoffs could become extremely dangerous; he was able to go against trade bureaus, the government, and countries that tolerate the sale of counterfeited goods. The Ruffin Company was exploring many ways of how to produce its products and immobilize the possibility of being counterfeited. Ted Volgren, the company’s design chief, introduced a technical enhancement to the Ruffin products.
The ideas for the improved Ruffin products would have the logo woven into the fabrics, rather than mbroidered, it would have micro tags within the products materials which will allow a special device to read the codes throughout the products life cycle, and a unique long alphanumerical identifier code which the customers would use to register the product online to verify its authenticity. Ted managed to keep the price increase for the improvements on a per unit basis which would not cause a drastic change in products, which made sure an appropriate number of products would be sold to avoid an extra for the gray or black markets.
The Ruffin company also conducted surveys of who bought the knockoffs, and was it an intentional buy or not. A third of the company’s customer surveyed that it was an unintentional purchase of the counterfeited versions of the Ruffin product. As well as two-thirds of the customers were willing to buy the knockoffs if the prices were cheaper, and said they would not buy the fakes if they knew there would be a consequence. While traveling to Beijing, Bill noticed that almost everyone was wearing a Ruffin Jacket in several different styles.
After realizing that the Ruffin Company has released no more than half a dozen styles of these Jackets, he came to the realization that those were knockoffs. Lily Wang, Ruffin’s director of East Asian sales, has suggested to Bill that he looks at it as walking billboards and all though it’s all counterfeited products that Bill doesn’t get upset about it because Ruffin sales have been almost doubling every year. Lily also suggested that to continue the succession of the company, adding retail outlets should be considered and lowering
Ruffin retail prices would not be an option because it would not discourage the counterfeiters and it would only cause a loss in sales and hurt the brand. Bill Bronson has been trying to fght for the originality of the Ruffin products for some time. He came to a realization of all the expenses for court fees, filings, violation notices, patent fillings, and attorneys and all the time the employees would have to take off from Ruffin to serve as witnesses in court, and he was unsure of how long he could afford to be involved.
Bill’s main reason behind the prosecution of ounterfeiters was his experience; he was emotionally attached to this worldwide issue of knockoffs. Bill Bronson could proceed with tracking down illegal replicas, taking people to court, and trying to legally resolve the issue. If that is what the Ruffin Company would choose to do, it would have to tie a lot of time and finances into resolving the issue of Ruffin knockoffs. The disadvantage of continuing with prosecutions and tracking down knockoffs would take away time for innovations and improvements of the products.
An advantage of stopping the Ruffin products being knocked off is that the ompany would highly secure its image, and a bad knockoff would not have an effect of customer purchases of the original products. The Ruffin Company is successful enough where the knockoff industry does not hurt the sales and development of the company. Therefore the idea of bringing Justice and prosecuting the people of the knockoff industry would be a waste of time. Rather than focusing on product knockoffs, Ruffin should rather focus on sales, opening new stores, and expanding the company.
Such as the Ruffin-branded adventure and retail environment that it’s urrently developing, this would include skiing, scuba diving, rapids rafting, surfing, mountain climbing, motocross all in the same facility. The advantage of discontinuing of tracking down counterfeits would give Ruffin more time and finances to explore new ideas, and develop new product lines. There is an obvious high demand in the Ruffin product among the adventurous consumers, and there is proof of that in the increasing annual sales. The only disadvantage of discontinuing the prosecutions would be maintaining the company’s image.
A bad knockoff could possibly have an ustomer knows the product quality and functions, and could differentiate an original from a knockoff, especially if Bill Bronson approves Nel’s improvement ideas. Therefore Bill should not worry about loss of customers or maintaining the company’s image. Bill Bronson is more emotionally tied up in the knockoff issue due to his experience, but he needs to look past that and be more attentive to the development and sales of the company. There are many famous and expensive brands that are counterfeited and sold in black markets; almost every brand of a product today has knockoffs.