What’s good

We marketers often talk about “trusted brands.” Everyone wants to be a trusted brand so that consumers will buy from them for the rest of their lives, adopting whatever new product the brand launches.

Each consumer is unique and we formulate our own reactions, some emotional and some logical, to the product choices we face every day. For example, I cannot tell you why a Ford is not on the list of car brands I would shop from. It’s just not a brand I identify with. I am a Honda/VW girl, and one day, if budget allows, perhaps I will own a Volvo.

Of course, the second my baby started eating real food, I faced a whole new set of brand choices that probably subconciously translate in my head to “What kind of mom am I?” Am I an organic-only mom? Do I buy Earth’s Best or Gerber? Do I use Johnson’s baby shampoo? Do I use Pampers wipes or just paper towels that I wet with warm thermos water that I keep on the changing table (that one lasted about two days).

To me, some large companies, like Proctor and Gamble, Kraft, and Quaker are places I mostly associate with where people get jobs after business school. This means I never lose sight of their motives – profitability. Surely they would tell me their motives are customer satisfaction and product excellence, but I think I’m going to be tough to convince.

We have to trust these brands, however, because modern life requires that we move fast, work at a desk, answer 50 emails every day and watch American Idol twice a week. We can’t make 100% of our food and baby care products ourselves. But what’s in this stuff?

A new website – GoodGuide.com – is one place to start. If you are choosing between brands A and B, search there to see which has better ratings in terms of contents of the product AND ethics of the company. And, there’s an iPhone app so you can get the info while you’re actually making your decision at the shelf.

What products did you start questioning when you became a parent?