The wonderful properties of New Zealand’s manuka honey have been held in high regard for a long time but more recently manuka honey has become a business success story around the world with New Zealand manuka honey fetching high prices.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before other countries attempted to cash in on the boom market. A British company is attempting to sell honey produced from manuka trees introduced to England a century ago and claiming it will be the purest manuka honey in the world. Australian beekeepers are likewise insisting on having their share of the manuka honey pie while stating that NZ beekeepers do not have a monopoly on the name ‘manuka’.
It is true that the Manuka tree, or Leptospermum scoparium to give it its Latin name, grows naturally only in NZ and Australia but the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) Association is attempting to trademark the name ‘manuka’ as unique to NZ. Their argument is that the name ‘manuka’ carries associations and links with Maori culture and NZ that cannot be replicated elsewhere in the world and that only honey produced from manuka trees in NZ can be called manuka honey.
Of course, we have seen similar arguments take place over the right to use the name champagne or Scotch whiskey. But the manuka saga provides food for thought about the importance of name, brand, and product awareness for your business as well.
What’s important about your brand?
Once upon a time brand name reputations were more stable and multiple generations in a family may have learnt to trust particular brands. However, now the market is constantly changing and brand allegiance is a very fluid thing.
So, what’s in a name? Brand name and awareness are still critical issues for any business but you can no longer just sit back and watch your business grow. You need to be constantly alert to market fluctuations and moving to reposition your brand at the forefront of those market changes.
This is a good time to think about your product and your brand. Ask yourself, what makes your product special? What does your product name say about your product and your target audience?