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According to a study of 2,000 people by OnePoll that was commissioned by my company, 75% of respondents noted that if the term “organic” was used in product marketing, they were more likely to purchase it, and nearly 60% would be attracted to an item that was labeled “all natural.” The survey also found that about 20% of respondents have full trust in organic food labels, with 57% having only partial trust. Other studies reported by the Pew Research Center underscore these findings: Americans’ desire for organic food has grown steadily over the past few decades, and the majority of Americans buy food based on labeling.
As the founder of a company that specializes in organic gardening, I have researched and developed a comprehensive line of products to empower and improve the organic gardening experience. I personally believe the best way to build customer loyalty is to offer sound advice to achieve comprehensive gardening success.
Today, I’ve observed consumers are bombarded with buzzwords — such as “organic,” “non-GMO,” “hormone-free” or “all natural” — as they stroll up and down the grocery store aisles. It’s true that brands are under intense pressure to sell and move their products off the shelves. Trendy words and marketing catchphrases can help attract consumers, but these phrases that imply a product is healthy (when it really isn’t) can create confusion for the purchaser and blur the lines between what is accurate and what isn’t.
This is why I believe it’s critical for leaders to create authentic labels and provide a transparent experience for their consumers. Here are a few tried-and-true lessons I’ve learned throughout my experience in the organic space:
1. Focus on long-term loyalty versus short-term gains.
A label can sell your product, but it can also affect your reputation. Think carefully before you add the latest buzzwords to your labeling. Make sure it actually relates to your product and that the information is accurate. It’s more valuable to attract a loyal customer versus just a one-time buyer.
To help build this loyalty, invite feedback and reviews. I’ve found that if you are open and transparent about your customers’ experience, whether positive or not, you can begin building valuable relationships, expand your audience and attract new customers. It’s all about nurturing the client relationship.
2. Don’t sell out — sell up.
There have been cases of brands making fraudulent claims that their food is “organic.” This is why accurately describing your products on labeling is critical.
Do not use words and labels that make your product misleading. Focus on your true value propositions, and I believe as a result, customers will respect and be more willing to spend money on your brand in the long run. Take time to develop and promote your company’s mission statement and vision first internally, and then expand to external audiences. If the core team shares the same vision with regard to company principles, external communication and messaging will be authentic.
For example, my company’s mission is to operate at “the highest level of organic purity.” This says it all on our labeling. Labels are great real estate to share your own mission, but don’t abuse the opportunity either. Use label “real estate” to market the facts, and make sure to include certifiers on your labels to back up your claims. If your label doesn’t credit third-party verification, be conservative in making claims such as “leading,” “top of the line.” or “voted No. 1.” If you add this to your labels, be prepared to support it.
3. Make your labels clear.
It’s important to communicate messages about your product clearly and truthfully. For example, when buying something simple, such as a carton of eggs, the consumer is often faced with a variety of terms: “organic,” “cage-free,” “free-range,” “pasture-raised” and “certified humane.” If you aren’t familiar with what these terms mean, it’s challenging to understand the differences in these labels. I believe the current food market creates an environment that makes it difficult for consumers to understand the intricacies of the industry, which tends to keep things complicated.
So, stick to the facts. If you decide to use industry jargon in product descriptions, make sure to also include facts and numbers to help validate your claims. From providing the percentage of natural ingredients in products to the number of satisfied customers to date, try to quantify your statements. Numbers are powerful.
4. Work to gain trust, not just dollars.
If what you say today sells your product but results in losing the trust of your customers, they won’t be returning. While the trendy phrases found on labeling might initially attract new customers, repeat customers will not be guaranteed.
Social media engagement is not only a promotional tool, but it’s a great way to build trust and interact with customers. Exchanging opinions and viewpoints with followers create two-way communication. For instance, I am very active on our company’s social media; I make it a point to personally respond to customer concerns and gladly take time to explain our products or process. I am the CEO of a considerable sized company, but I know a single customer’s voice can go a long way. Investing time in that direct communication has proven worthwhile time and time again.
When all is said and done, today’s consumers can feel confused or misled about what they are buying. So keep these four elements in mind, and I believe you can provide a positive experience to your customers.
May 30, 2019 at 08:07AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs