Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dont conceal, reveal

From Seth Godin's blog:

A different technique is starting to gain traction, though. Working to reveal instead of conceal. My fish monger in Grand Central has started placing signs in front of each fish. They describe exactly where the fish came from, whether it's healthy and how endangered it is. You'll never see fine print saying "previously frozen." They don't have any fine print. The first few times you visit the stand, it's actually off putting. It takes the romance and pleasure out of buying the fish, because you realize that there's a cost to it. The meat guy across the way doesn't have pictures of cows being slaughtered, does he?

But after a while, because the information is out there, because smart fish buyers already know some fish is endangered, the signs give you power. They allow you to make smart choices. They send a message to the customer about the honesty and intent of the seller. They build trust.

This will, by necessity, become more popular as the green economy advances. Hopefully, people won't easily fall prey to the "green" tag without evidence of its extent. I think if you have half a brain (meaning you use half your brain when you buy something), you can skim off most of the bullcrap. But inventive, persistent, well-formed marketing has a way of circumventing our brains instead of appealing to them. Marketing is, unfortunately, value-neutral in so many cases (think cigarettes, fast food, Blackwater). It's hard to figure out how to vote with your money when the candidates are not what they seem (that was meant to be a metaphor).

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