April 29, 2017

More Effective Nutrition Marketing Through More Skeptical Consumers

As marketers, it’s our reputation — because it’s our training. We stretch and sometimes destroy the truth, we make everything sound like the best thing since sliced bread with no calories, fat, carbs or anything else. Our actions create skepticism in consumers, whose confusion causes them to look at our brands with that squinty, furrowed brow expression that says, “I don’t think I trust you — or your weird air-bread.”

But as long as we’re inviting skepticism, why not invite it in for a close, hard look? In other words, let’s not merely talk, and even act, with transparency. Let’s ask people to do their best to find the slightest murkiness in that supposed clarity.

What are the benefits?

  1. Asking consumers to bring their most skeptical thoughts to our brands provides instant credibility and even causes people to let us off the hook if what we’re doing isn’t absolutely perfect.
  2. People tell people about shady people — that goes for brands, and that goes in reverse. People tell people about brands that aren’t shady at all.
  3. You’ll up your own marketing game. By coming up with skeptic-proof answers to questions that haven’t even been asked yet, you’ll tighten your talk track and be able to disseminate that story to every member of your team.

Sold? So, how do you sell those skeptics?

  • Open the kimono as they say. Tell consumers where you source the raw materials that go into your products.
  • Provide a timeline detailing how your product/brand has evolved over time. What innovations and improvements have you made and why — if you’ve taken a step away from perfection due to cost containment, talk about why.
  • Provide a highly respected third party site where people can check out your ingredients and claims — is a great option.
  • Create a thorough virtual tour of your facility — if you own it, say so. If you use a copacker, tell people what that means and why you’ve gone that route. Then, demonstrate every part of the process and the processing. Explain the “why” of every step.
  • Stop compensating bloggers, who by law, must include that, “I was compensated by _____ (brand) with _____ (product) and/or _____ (cash)” disclaimer. After reading that, how could anyone possibly believe the review?
  • Invite an unbiased, third party expert to give your product the acid test. Find your local version of Michael Pollan — heck, get Michael Pollan — and don’t even think about giving either Mr. Pollan anything relating to compensation.
  • Ask every single prospective consumer to share and talk about what they’ve learned. Remember, using this strategy, you don’t have to be flawless, just flawlessly up front. None of us is perfect; it’s those of us who hide that fact that lose our reputation’s pretty points.

Employ any or all of these steps, make friends with the skeptic and you’ll make more paying friends, period.