Smart Choices; Bad Judgments.


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For the past two years, the food and beverage industry has been developing a new package labeling program, dubbed “Smart Choices,” to help consumers identify good nutritional choices.  This summer, the labels started appearing on food packaging – prominently displayed on healthy foods like…  sugary cereal and fat-saturated mayonnaise.

Ah, yet another example of business purporting to act in consumers’ best interests, but in reality, doing nothing of the sort.  The Smart Choices labeling program was about as far away as you can get from honest, authentic customer communication.  Is it any wonder that consumers rarely trust big business?

As reported in a recent New York Times article, the food industry has wisely backed away from the Smart Choices labeling program.  But I like to think that the damage has already been done, and that this misstep will serve as a wake-up call to the value of authentic branding and communication (and the risks of doing anything otherwise).

In next week’s post, I’ll continue with this theme, describing recent efforts by a major health insurer to create a more informative and customer-friendly Explanation of Benefits.

Jon Picoult
As Founder of Watermark Consulting, Jon Picoult helps companies impress customers and inspire employees. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Jon’s been featured by dozens of media outlets, including The Wall St Journal and The New York Times. He’s worked with some of the world’s foremost brands, personally advising CEOs and executive teams.Learn more at or follow Jon on Twitter.


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