We are living in a time where the value “trust” is in the midst of a crisis, and it seems as if traditional marketing is somehow faltering. Focusing our topic on the food industry, some manufacturers have developed an expansive type of “tsunami-marketing” with messages that tend to be overpromising, not realising that the consumer is increasingly empowered and is no longer easily fooled.
The contagious force of the cry of just a few consumers who were looked at as “veggies” or “hippies” in the 80s, who some marketers from the traditional school even view as the “freaks” in the market, has led to the emergence of a great mass of disenchanted and energetic consumers in the 21st century, vegetarians or not, who no longer believe anything. The strength of millennials and their paradigm-breaking spirit, the scandals in the industry using unclear methods to make investments profitable (how could we forget about the mad cow disease, or the cucumbers infected by E.coli bacteria?), and messages that are too border-line regarding a product’s benefits and real characteristics, have managed to question the very essence of marketing.
Faced with this environment, a new concept has appeared for some brands, especially those that embrace the organic philosophy… we’re moving from marketing to what I like to call “clean-marketing”. A new type of marketing that, without losing its seductive essence and while still creating value in the market, wants to break away from the belief that “if it is marketing, I don’t trust it”. A marketing based on non-marketing. A marketing where there is no guilt to be found anywhere from the brand to the final product, or where the brand has gone to “confessional” to be cleared of this guilt.
This new “clean-marketing” has several elements and barrier-breakers that allow the consumer to regain their faith. The first and most important of all would be transparency. Not having anything to hide is simply not enough, the consumer needs you to put all your cards on the table, to not hide yourself. This concept, which NGO-type institutions believe strongly in as it is the essence of their ability to attract and create value, can be applied perfectly to all other sectors, especially the food sector. It is better to teach than to cover up. The strength of transparent packaging shows off part or all of the product, allowing the consumer at the point of purchase to see that what the brand is saying is really true.
Clarity and simplicity of the message
A second point is the clarity and simplicity of the message. We have to speak the consumer’s language, so that they can understand us and therefore not create any suspicion. Familiar ingredients gain strength, and if they’re not familiar, then provide a good explanation on where they come from and what their purpose is. Explain what the consumer wants to know, what the product is for, how to take it or dose it (in the case of food supplements). If this information is not clear and reinforced from the brand’s digital satellite, it is very likely that the consumer will pull back.
Seals and Claims
The third point would be to rely on seals/claims that help them to identify us as being guilt-free. These include everything from the ultimate seal of trustworthiness that is the organic-ECO certification, to other seals created by ourselves or by external institutions, which allow the consumer to recover their faith in us little by little, all thanks to the brand’s packaging.
There are also several claims that can perform the same role, from the classic “free-from” to the more specific claims, provided that regulations allow it. In this sanctification, we must also know how to detect the “demons” in our category, which in the food industry are normally associated with certain ingredients (one of these right now would be palm oil). A clear example of a sanctified ingredient is the growth of the “gluten-free” category that has extended beyond the person with celiac disease and has ended up turning into a global trend.
And to finish off, it’s important that we don’t forget the importance the sector is placing on our connection with the environment and the challenges related to the environment and social/animal justice, especially from the specialised and organic channels. Campaigns that support the importance of local producers and locally-sourced products, animal welfare and social causes are undoubtedly part of an unstoppable plan: the creation of an integrated, clean and fair environment.
The world is changing. And marketing even more so. It’s no longer enough for us to know the consumer or to develop products that meet their needs or problems. We need to be honest, with a transparent “clean-marketing”, without any “demons”, communicating naturally with the consumer but without losing our appeal. The marketing of non-marketing.