Foodie Friday and today it’s a fun trip into the mysteries of labels.

Organic Italian Wine from Tuscany

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve ever gone to buy Italian wine you may have come across something on the label that says “D.O.C.”.  It’s an abbreviation of a long Italian term that means the wine is coming from a controlled area.  The grapes used to make chianti, for example, must come from that region and can’t be grown near Rome and shipped to Tuscany.

Of course, things being as they are in Italy, after a time a need arose to control the controlled label.  Although D.O.C. means the product comes from a specific area and is of a defined quality and is produced using methods specified in the regulation, the Italians added another level – D.O.C.G.  The “G” is for guaranteed which of course calls into question in my mind exactly how strictly the original high standard is followed.

You many also have seen San Marzano tomatoes at the store.  I love these and cook with them all the time.  One needs to read the label very carefully – San Marzano style is not the real thing.  You can tell the real thing by the D.O.P. certification on the label.  It’s the equivalent of D.O.C. used on other foods such as cheeses and tomatoes.  So if your tomatoes come in a jar or are pureed, chopped, diced or even organic, they aren’t real San Marzanos which are only sold peeled whole or halved.

What does this have to do with your business?  These labels are a sign for consumers that the product is real and is of the standard they expect as they hand over their cash.  The reality is that consumers find those labels in other ways even if they’re not printed on the product itself.  It starts with your marketing.  Is it authentic?  They look at the sales agent which may be a person or a web page.  Does it seem real or does something not feel right?  Smart brands know this and do what they can to offer the D.O.C. comfort.  “Intel Inside” is one example.  Verisign and TrustE certifications are another.

Is your brand giving off the assurance consumers need and want?

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