One of the best-kept secrets when it comes to product certification is the opportunity to use certification as a marketing tool to generate more business. Sure, getting a product certified can take a lot of time, money and planning. Having to meet different federal, state and/or local requirements can be dull, but many companies fail to grasp the power certification offers. Below are some best practices that may help companies find a better return on investment for their certified products.
When a company passes product testing, meets other requirements and achieves certification, it is allowed to use the certification body’s logo on its product, packaging and website. However, many companies do not take advantage of this. “Use the Gold Seal or the logo associated with your certification body,” said Tom Spoden, product certification director for the Water Quality Assn. (WQA). “It’s amazing to me how rarely companies actually take advantage of using this well-known trademark within the industry. It is a simple and effective way to convey that your product is certified.”
Marketing & Promotions
Companies should place the certification logo on business cards, marketing materials or wherever else they see fit, assuming it is done in a way that is compliant with the certification body’s logo policy. Companies should proudly display the logo representing the certification they have earned and paid for.
Trade Shows & Conventions
Certified companies that exhibit at trade shows and conventions also should take advantage of the certification body’s logo. It easily can be exhibited on a booth display or on promotional handouts. This simple step can help catch the attention of attendees. Companies also should train and educate their booth staff and salespeople about what the certification means so they can explain it to any potential clients who stop at the booth. This can be a valuable marketing tool.
Another easy way to showcase a certified product is to display the table tents a certifying organization hands out to its certified clients. For example, the WQA Gold Seal Product Certification program provides a table tent with the Gold Seal prominently displayed on it. Gold Seal clients receive these table tents at any show at which WQA exhibits so they can display them within their booth. The company is allowed to use the table tents at future shows where WQA may not be exhibiting.
It is not uncommon for companies to create a slideshow or video to present their products. These are excellent ways to visually present a large amount of information. A company can create a slide to briefly talk about its certified products and what the certification means. A video can open the viewers’ eyes to the product’s effectiveness. It is a way to demonstrate that a product is made of safe materials and, if applicable, is structurally sound and performs as claimed. It is no longer just the company’s word—it can prove that an independent, third-party certification body is backing its product up.
Advertising & Social Media
A company with an advertising budget should consider including information about its certification in promotional materials, assuming the ad is for, or includes, a certified product. Display the certification body’s logo and, if space allows, list what the product is certified for. The more information you can provide current or potential customers the better. It could be the difference between a consumer or company choosing that product versus a competitor’s.
For those looking for more cost-effective ways to spread the word, consider social media. By creating simple, eye-catching graphics with text outlining the product’s benefits, manufacturers can reach their target audiences for little or no money.
Companies should focus on the wants and needs of their customers and market the relevant certification and/or performance claims. For example, if a company manufactures a filter that reduces lead, cysts and atrazine and is sold in Flint, Mich., the company should make sure to list the lead claim first on its packaging. With lead being such a prominent issue in Flint, lead reduction claims are something that consumers look for when buying drinking water filters. A company should try to incorporate its certification into its marketing strategy at the beginning of the year, and adjust it as needed when a water crisis or new regulation springs up that is relevant to its products.
Companies spend a great deal of money getting their products certified and should take advantage of their certification as much as they can. They should promote it, advertise it, display it and make it known to all customers that they have spent the time and money to make sure their product is safe and effective.