So last time we chatted, we were having a debate about whether or not Pepsi was the new Coke.

Right?

No, wait a sec.

Labels. Right!

We were talking about labels, specifically those ones that tout the highly sought after certifications so many CPG products these days want to be able to put on their jars, cans, boxes, and bags. But that’s only if that certification is right for you, right for your product.

Ahh, right. It’s all coming back to me (and hopefully to you) now.

So let’s say that you’ve done your product research, you understand the market into which your product will go, you understand the consumers who will buy your product and why, and you understand the consumer who won’t buy your product and why not. And most important, you understand your product, inside and out.

And knowing all of this, you know that having one or more certifications is definitely the right thing for your product.

Fabulous!

Now what?

If there’s a certification you seek, there’s a process that goes along with it.It can be a daunting, confusing process, achieving these certifications. And there are so many to choose from: Organic, GMO-free, fair trade to name a few. And when you start the process toward these certifications, The Government is sometimes involved (and we know how simple and easy-breezy they can be to work with), as are fees, paperwork, and oodles of rules and regulations. But before you say, “Forget this!” and chuck the CPG world for a simpler life of herding sheep in the countryside, take a deep breath.

And break it down.

Not like a rapper (unless you feel like it), but break down the process into smaller, easier to manage out, step-by-step processes. For example, if you’re going after organic certification, what do you need to do first? The USDA—the governing body of organic in the US—gives five steps to organic certification that make for a good starting place. (If you’re looking more at how to get your entire operation certified organic, check out this primer on the subject.)

What about touting that your product is GMO free? Well, the Non-GMO Product Verified Seal is one way to go about it, but keep your eye again on the USDA (it always comes back to the USDA, doesn’t it?)—in 2015 they announced that they’re developing a verification process for non-GMO testing.

Want that Fair Trade label? The Fair Trade Organization is all about “transparency and traceability,” and they want to know you’re buying from fair trade-certified farms and organizations.

And those are just to name a few.

If there’s a certification you seek, there’s a process that goes along with it. That said, besides breaking down each process into easier-to-manage steps, keep these thoughts in mind as well:

  1. How long will the certification process take?
  2. How much will it cost?
  3. Will it affect the pricing of my product?
  4. If so, how?
  5. What will pursuing this certification cost my company—in money and in manpower?

Going after certifications can be the right and best move for your product—not because of the cache, but because it adds to the value and the narrative of your product, and your overall brand. It’s not always easy, but when you’ve done your research, and you fully understand what you’re in for, it’s always worth it in the end.

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