Brand Authenticity – The Sins of Packaging

In a previous blog I explored the impact false claims pertaining to the organic status of certain products have on the authenticity, and hence equity of their brands. It is not surprising that there is also interest in the other false claims that regularly play out on some product packaging. Last year I had the pleasure of spending a day wandering around fresh produce markets in London with the enthusiastic and talented food marketer Rob Ward www.foodmarketingnetwork.com.

food marketing network

Rob is a strong advocate of the leverage available to food brands who legitimately position themselves around the positive attributes associated with their region of origin. Provenance has the potential to convey positive meaning and build emotional connection, something every brand is aspiring to do, and exactly why many brands stretch the truth. Rob passionately regularly reels of examples, …’did you know a Pork Pie labeled as ‘British Produced’, can have imported pork? Or that Norwegian Salmon can be smoked in Scotland and called Scottish Salmon. Or that Beef reared in England can be slaughtered in Scotland and called Scottish Beef?

Given Rob makes a living out of working with brands who have an authentic claim to valued provenance attributes, it is not surprising that he has decided to take a little action. He has recently launched a web site www.honestlabelling.com with the intention of celebrating the honest expressions of brands on pack and shaming the brands who have chosen to stretch the truth about who they are.

Honest Labelling

We all know that in marketing perception is reality and therefore if food producers can create a perception that their brand is produced in a particular region or country, even if it means stretching the truth a little, they will continue to do it. Frankly, in the end many will only change if the the Law or Government Regulations force them to, unless of course the likes of Rob Ward can shame them into changing. It is a big ask, but we wish Rob well… when I have finished my Scottish Salmon sandwich I may even jump on board your activist’s brand wagon.

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist

3 Comments

  1. When I think of the regional brands that have great authenticity – like King Island Dairy, I can see the attraction for brands to attempt to poach a little of that. But we know that authenticity can be the most powerful of brand attributes – especially when it’s authentic.

  2. Pete & Co.

    Thank you for the tribute Pete – I really appreciate the kind words. I have been, and remain really impressed with your work. All I can say it that it’s a pity your 12,000 miles away from us in the UK. Lucky Aussies!

    I believe the world has had enough of BS food marketing and branding. Some food businesses are waking up to the opportunities this creates. Many are not.

    Internationally, the people in authority have been woeful – consumers want, not only the truth, they also want designed by them.

    A sort of brand vigilantism, yielding a new era of real, consumer generated products.

    Wow, that sounds heavy! Sorry… better now.
    http://www.HonestLabelling.com is about fixing whats wrong and empowering consumers.

    The site is about to have a number of interesting upgrades that are worth looking out for, so please keep in touch.

    For the record:
    I would be happy to create a specific Australian version for free, just ask?
    This is a mission, not a marketing campaign…

    Thanks again Pete and best wishes,

    Rob
    rob@foodmarketingnetwork.com

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