She began her quest to create oral, body, bath, face and beauty care products while pregnant with her first child in 2007. Bertram crafts products the entire family can use, including, kids/toddlers, men, and women (safe during pregnancy, too).
She says that her labels reflect product ingredients that are “pure, basic, natural. We’re non-GMO and products contain no synthetics. We strive for authenticity in everything we do. Our labels are clear, legible, basic and streamlined. They’re not filled with a bunch of promotional gobbledygook,” Bertram says.
It’s all part of her world view. She adds, “We’re trying to bring truly clean products that aren’t ‘greenwashed’ to the world, providing full transparency along the way.” Wikipedia describes greenwashing as “a form of marketing spin in which green PR (green values) and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.” Put another way, she won’t support this clear customer disservice.
“We don’t carry a product we can’t source. We won’t carry it until we get the quality we want. The bottom dollar drives most companies. I don’t want that to happen to my company,” Bertram emphasizes.
Dedication to customer service also is evident in Sprigs + Twigs’ authentic reviews and the way she encourages customers to provide comments. “If a company pays $20 to leave a review, it’s tempting. Who won’t leave a positive comment or two? Similar to greenwashing, it’s disingenuous. People should leave reviews because they’ve tried a product and want to provide their honest thoughts, not because they’re getting paid.”
Bertram’s way of doing business honors customer service that fulfills commitments in every area, from product quality and safety to labels providing the basics without hype. This is part of a commercial evolution (some would say revolution), where company transparency and truth-telling are overtaking companies making exaggerated claims –where promises don’t match up with performance. Her business model also is part of a customer service philosophy where excellent word-of-mouth about product performance and customer care drives new business. In essence, positive feedback at all levels, from personal referrals and social media kudos to reviews, becomes the marketing engine.
An emplifi.io article reinforces the importance of word-of-mouth and spreading it on steroids: “Word-of-mouth becomes increasingly powerful…It’s easier than ever for people today to share their experiences (or horror stories) with others…50% of Americans would choose word-of-mouth if they were asked to pick only one information source. (Convince & Convert Consulting)…With word-of-mouth’s significant impact on people’s purchasing decisions, having the measures to monitor and quickly escalate brand mentions and reviews from social media and review sites is essential to gauge customers’ experiences with your brand and address potential product and PR issues.”
Here are customer service takeaways for product manufacturers:
1.Weigh the value of cute, clever, over-the-top claims against honesty and straightforward communication. In today’s commerce environment where many companies strive to be the most noticeable, novel and “in your face,” going back to basics can provide a clean, fresh view. It’s somewhat akin to what happened when flashy, four-color advertising became the norm rather than the exception. Along the way, “old fashioned” black-and-white ads gained traction in contrast to the massive splashes of color. Authenticity and transparency have become popular for a reason: they can provide contrast to all the hype and over-stimulation and bring us back to the basics of doing business with those you like, trust and respect.
2. Walk the talk and you won’t have to walk it back. Analogous to Bertram’s concerns about greenwashing, manufacturers that authentically go green instead of falsely claiming they are will ultimately score customer service victories. In contrast, false claims likely will be exposed via the ultimate lie detector: social media. And once that deluge of criticism starts, it can ruin a company’s reputation – and its revenues – quickly. Just be real from the beginning, and the good word will spread. Ultimately, this is how such companies as Costco have grown and flourished while many competitors have floundered.
3. Label it the way you make it. Make sure labels adequately and accurately reflect what’s inside the container. Reports of mis-labeled products are proliferating. In some cases, this is an annoyance; in others, it can have adverse health consequences. Consumers are increasingly demanding accountability in this arena. Ultimately, companies dedicated to quality control will survive – and in many cases thrive – while sloppy manufacturers will likely face the wrath of everyone, from regulators to reviewers.
Rosalind Bertram is on a good track for a great track record. We need more entrepreneurs with her commitment to quality in all areas.
Mark Lusky is a marketing communications professional who has worked with Lightning Labels, an all-digital custom label printer in Denver, CO, USA, since 2008. Find Lightning Labels on Facebook for special offers and label printing news.