There are many things to consider when a company creates its branding materials. One of those is: when buying and selling products, does it really matter where they come from? Some people are happy to buy and sell from wherever, while others take the opposite approach and often want to ensure local businesses are supported. This product provenance helps tell a richer story, and it looks like many are more interested in having something authentic than they are just having something. But just how important is provenance in branding?
Local as a Branding Tool
One of the biggest marketing trends of recent years has been to refer to something as local – which to many customers means both more authentic and better. Indeed, many people want to support their local areas. This is then used as a pull by companies. For example, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, England, claims that many of the products sourced for its café are from within “viewing distance” (23 miles) of the viewing platform.
Lamb from New Zealand
New Zealand is known for its lamb exports and for rearing some of the most tender lamb in the world. The expansive pastures, space to roam, and stress-free environment contribute to the tender nature of the meat, so hearing that lamb is from New Zealand is a sign of quality. In fact, 2019 saw a record of $391 million in lamb exports in one month alone from New Zealand to elsewhere in the world. So, it’s clear that in addition to giving a mark of quality, the provenance of this product helps contribute to its sales worldwide.
Snus from Sweden
Some products are tied to certain countries by means of history and tradition, and therefore this provenance should be stated on them to give both validity to the product and to ensure customers are getting something authentic. For example, snus is a Swedish tobacco-alternative nicotine product. Those selling snus ensure that it is Swedish or Nordic and make sure to state this when people are looking to buy in order to add legitimacy to the provenance of the product. As I bought mine here, I noticed that the company makes sure that it refers to its Swedish origin to show customers its authenticity. Yes, the product could be replicated elsewhere, but the only real snus is that which is from Sweden.
Champagne from Champagne
Champagne has become a catch-all term for sparkling wine, but it is in fact only allowed to be called Champagne if it comes from grapes in the Champagne region of France. Other similar sparkling wines include Prosecco from Italy and Cava from Spain. Similarly, Tequila doesn’t just refer to just any agave-flavored drink; it has to come from a specific region of Mexico. The wider name for the product is mezcal, and those tequila-like products who bear it usually haven’t been produced in Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, or Nayarit in Mexico. However, there are sometimes loopholes in these rules, as we can see from Californian Champagne.
Using provenance as a branding tool has worked well for plenty of businesses, but it also helps customers prove authenticity behind something. Without provenance, customers may fall for copies or inferior products. Being able to prove where something has come from and give that guarantee creates a bond of trust between seller and buyer that the product they are receiving is legitimate.