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Will Your "Made in China" Label Kill Brand Loyalty?

madeinchina.jpgAmid all the recalls of Chinese-manufactured products -- from pet food to toys to seafood to tires -- companies are starting to ask the question: does a "Made in China" label equal brand suicide? Considering that 60 percent of all products recalled in the US this year were from China, up from 36 percent in 2000, that's a valid question. A poll conducted Tuesday revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans would advocate a boycott on Chinese goods.

The media coverage does little to instill confidence in consumers; take this excerpt from a CNN article:

A Chinese government report earlier this month found that 80 percent of food and products for domestic consumption passed inspection -- meaning that nearly 1 in 5 failed to meet minimal standards.
Both the US and Chinese governments are working to do damage control, but there are things a business can do in the interim to keep customers loyal to the brand:
  • Provide easily accessible information (perhaps on your website) that informs consumers about your suppliers' licenses to manufacture and export the product, and its history of product safety.
  • Enhance customer service. Your call center might start fielding an inordinate amount of calls about concerns over your products' safety. You may want to take on additional short-term staff and train to address relevant questions.
  • Elicit your customers' suggestions for ways to improve trust in your brand.
You probably won't replace all your labels, but the bottom line remains: your brand sinks without customer loyalty, and customers won't stay loyal if they don't trust your commitment to their safety.

(Made In China Image by mrbill, CC 2.0)