By Cheryl Anne Groth
The label was so small I had to squint to see the rest. But it was on a peach. “GA” was all I could see, but that was all I needed. “GA,” of course, is the U.S. Postal Service’s abbreviation for the state of Georgia—famous all over the country for its luscious peaches. The state’s red clay dirt can’t produce a decent tomato for the life of it, but it sure can put out fine peaches.
Tired of rock-hard, green West Coast fruit all winter, I lusted after this–the first real Southern peach I saw this summer. I didn’t even have to squeeze it. The aroma wafted up to my nose the moment I picked it up.
If I hadn’t seen the abbreviation “GA” on the label, I would have just passed it by, like I have done all spring at our local supermarket. After all, all they have had from October until now—the last week of June—have been the mass-produced California kind. But that word caught my attention—and my purse strings.
I used to live in North Carolina. We counted the peaches by the days and the months. In the latter half of June, Georgia peaches rolled into the stores there. By the Fourth of July, we would head down to South Carolina to sample some of Gaffney’s best. Those, by far, were the high points of the year, by most people’s reckoning. Everyone we knew made the pilgrimage every year just to drink in the Carolina goodness.
By the end of the month and all through August, we in the Old North State had our own peaches ripen—almost as tasty, yet only half the size.
(Those Southern farmers who promoted their wares at roadside stands may not have graduated with a degree in marketing, but they sure did know how to brand their merchandise. Conventional marketers could learn a thing or two from an industry whose branding efforts brought in people from hundreds of miles around just for a $5.00 basket of fruit).
Peaches, unlike many fruits, just don’t taste the same west of the Rockies. Northern folk, bless their hearts, don’t have the steamy, hot weather–nor the red clay dirt–that puts that finish on a ripe peach as ours did.
So when I moved to Ohio, I couldn’t wait until June for the Georgia peaches to arrive. Not many stores had them. But Kishman’s, a local store that specializes in fine, farm-fresh foods, did. And bless his Yankee heart, the owner had them right up front, their heady scent filling the entryway to the produce department.
So when my husband, who hails from Turkey and hasn’t met a fruit yet that doesn’t taste better grown in Turkish soil (at least in his opinion), saw me reach for that peach with the Georgia label, his look was skeptical at best. But then he ate one…
Though he wouldn’t admit it, he liked those peaches, I think. Because by the next week, it was he who grabbed a bag and stuffed it full of Georgia peaches.
Lesson in fresh food marketing: If you have a great product, like Georgia or Carolina peaches, make sure that you let people know. Marketing your product can be as simple as slapping on a one-inch label that reads “GA.” You don’t need a neon sign or a TV ad. You just need one word. Or two letters, for that matter.
When you brand your product with a recognizable image, you create an insatiable desire for that product in folks like me. Once we’ve had the real thing, we won’t settle for less. Just ask a Coke drinker if a Pepsi will do.
Stamp your brand on your product and watch it fly out the door.
Your work is your passion. Help others catch the vision with a design that captures the essence of your brand.