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Label Academy hosts successful third virtual master class

Label Academy, the global training provider for the label and package printing industry, recently hosted its third virtual master classes, this time covering brand protection and anti-counterfeiting. The online event boasted a high-profile panel of eleven expert speakers from across the brand protection segment and label and package printing industry.

As with the previous virtual master classes, which to date have covered digital printing technology and flexible packaging, Brand Protection was divided into two parts. Part One took place on Tuesday 23 March, with Part Two a week later on Tuesday 30th. The chair for Part One was James Quirk, Labels & Labeling group managing editor, while Labelexpo’s strategic director Andy Thomas-Emans chaired Part Two. They were joined by guest speakers from American Apparel & Footwear Association, Avery Dennison, Digimarc, HP, International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), INX International Ink Co., Mercian Labels, Vandagraf, VerifyMe and Vicki Strull Design.

Part One provided an overview of brand protection from a range of industry perspectives. James Bevan, director, Vandagraf, began with an introduction to the global counterfeiting market, describing the main types of security. This paved the way for the next session, given by Vicki Strull, branding consultant, Vicki Strull Design, who examined the role labels and packaging can play and communication between brand and converter. Christina Mitropoulos, director, brand protection & manufacturing initiatives, American Apparel & Footwear Association, then provided an insight into the challenges of online shopping and e-commerce for brands. Closing Part One, Dr Adrian Steele, managing director, Mercian Labels, presented the converter perspective, with a particular focus on tamper-evident labels. He drew on examples from companies such as Amazon, the Royal Mint and Fedex.

The focus for Part Two was on specific brand protection technologies. The first half concentrated on overt technologies, starting with a presentation given by Dr Paul Dunn, chairman, International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA). He provided a technical overview of holograms and optical technology, accompanied by examples of how they have been successfully used as part of a sophisticated security solution by brands such as Lamborghini. Leading the next session was Moshiko Levhar, EMEA security and brand protection business manager, Graphics Solutions Business, HP, who covered digital printing and the use of variably printed security codes. He emphasized the importance of a layered approach to security. Tamper-evident materials was the subject of the third overt technology presentation, given by Michael Welch, senior product manager, durables (North America), Avery Dennison. He provided an insight into some of the ways in which brands are using these successfully.

The second half of Part Two focused on covert technologies, starting with a joint presentation given by Michael Brice, vice president, sales and business development, INX International Ink Co. and Keith Goldstein, chief operating officer, VerifyMe. They examined some of the ways in which security inks and taggants are being used to protect products and brands. The next session was led by Tony Fazhev, business development manager NFC, Europe, Avery Dennison, who showed how NFC security can be used as part of a digital brand protection strategy, particularly for wine, spirits and pharma applications. The final master class presentation was given by Jay Sperry, platform evangelist, Digimarc Corporation, who explored ways in which digital watermarking, is helping with product diversion, authentication and traceability.

Thomas-Emans said: “Brand protection is growing in importance, as the global counterfeiting market continues to evolve, and with it, the technologies being developed to tackle it. It is vital therefore that the label and package printing industry learns how to equip itself with the right tools and up-to-date knowledge to meet changing brand owner needs.

“This brand protection master class proved an excellent opportunity to do just that, and I’d like to extend my thanks to our fantastic line-up of speakers who took part, and attendees for joining. We look forward to hosting further sessions covering more of the industry’s most pressing topics in the coming months.”

Echoing this, Dr Steele said: “Listening to the presenters from Part One reminded me that the problem of counterfeit goods and tamper evidence continues to be an evolving and growing problem for brands, and the pandemic lockdown has accelerated this shift with the boom in e-commerce, and fraudsters taking advantage of this. There has never been a more important time to recognize the threat to your brand than now, and that was a consistent message from the presenters in Part One.”

Brice also said: “I found the master class to be a great means to educate all stake holders in the supply chain. Since the “classes” are targeted, brief and have presenters from key sources involved in the subject matter, one can gain significant knowledge on the topic and a way to pursue those sources of information for greater detail. In today’s environment, you are bringing access where it was only available in person. I think [the] format will continue despite travel restrictions being lifted and some sort normalcy exists.”

Thomas-Emans added: “On-the-job learning is an ongoing process, so I’d strongly recommend that master class attendees continue to enhance their knowledge by purchasing the Label Academy’s Encyclopedia of Brand Protection. This is an invaluable complement to the key technologies discussed during the master class, and much more.”

The recordings for both parts of the virtual master class are available for purchase.