Exposed: Imatag study reveals visual asset leaks could cost companies $8 million per launch

Brand content protection

May 11, 2023

Exposed: Imatag study reveals visual asset leaks could cost companies $8 million per launch

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The importance of visual assets in modern marketing cannot be overstated, and companies invest significant amounts of money into creating attention-grabbing launch campaigns. However, when a new product's visual assets are revealed before the official launch, it can compromise the entire campaign's effectiveness. According to a recent study conducted by Imatag, visual content leaks can inflict significant damage and costs on companies.

Today, it's becoming increasingly common for companies to release products and services that rely heavily on visual assets, such as photos, videos, and other media. These assets are often used to showcase the features and benefits of the product, and they play a crucial role in building brand recognition and consumer trust.

However, Imatag’s new study has revealed that leaking of visual assets can cost companies a significant amount of money every time they launch a product. In fact, the average cost of a visual asset leak is $8 million.

The study surveyed 150 US and European C-level executives, directors, managers and account executives in B2C companies and advertising agencies. The industries covered were the Automotive industry, Collectible consumer goods, Consumer electronics, Fashion, luxury goods, Hi-tech and advertising businesses.

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Visual asset leaks: Summary of the study results

The overlooked threat of visual asset leaks

Every other day, the news reports on major companies, public organizations, and even governments falling victim to data leaks. And while organizations often invest significant resources into protecting their digital data and systems from cyber attacks, they may overlook the importance of safeguarding their visual assets.

These assets can be just as valuable to companies as any other form of intellectual property and their theft or exposure have severe consequences across all sectors, as revealed in Imatag's recent study.

Unfortunately, visual asset leaks may also be more common than many companies realize, occurring frequently when launching new products. Imatag's study uncovered a troubling reality: the frequency of leaks is in line with most product launches in these industries, which is about once a year.

Most affected industries and main concerns

Consumer electronics is the sector with the highest level of concern, followed by fashion and luxury goods, advertising and promotion, and high-tech industries.

  You have to live with the fact that there are leaks every time you have a product launch... This is a very, very hot topic within our company.  

– Head of Marketing of an EU Consumer Electronics Manufacturer

As already mentioned, the average cost of a visual asset leak is $8 million. However, the financial impact of visual content leaks is by no means the only consequence experienced by companies, who mention loss of competitive advantage, contractual issues, counterfeiting and damage to brand reputation as their main pain points. These incidents can also lead to a loss of trust among customers, stakeholders, and employees.

The research indicates that businesses' top concern regarding the theft of their digital assets is the risk of counterfeiting.

  Product visuals are often circulated well in advance of the product's launch. Brands may be unaware of their value or struggle to prevent leaks, but these images can be used to produce counterfeit goods.  

– Mathieu Desoubeaux, CEO of Imatag

Stop losing money, prevent visual asset leaks

The threat of visual content leaks can be addressed through legal and technological measures.

Legal options include non-disclosure agreements and embargos. But they can’t actually prevent leaks or identify the source of the leak.

Technological solutions involve digital rights management, digital asset management and the use of metadata. But again, these measures are not foolproof as they cannot completely prevent individuals with authorized access to assets from intentionally or unintentionally leaking them.

Digital watermarking is an increasingly popular solution, allowing companies to embed recipient-unique identifiers in multiple copies of an image and track leaks through web crawling.

Imatag’s study has generated significant interest internationally. Major tech and marketing publications and thought leaders have recommended it as a must-read for anyone involved in marketing and brand management.

The full report is available for download, along with additional resources, real-life examples and testimonials, as well as information on how businesses can protect themselves from visual content leaks.

Learn more about the Risks of Visual Content Leaks in various industries.

How much could a leak cost your business?

Learn more about the Risks of Visual Content Leaks in various industries.

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