New Zealand’s most recognised country of origin trademark has taken another technological leap to protect the authenticity of the nation’s valuable exports.
FernMark is New Zealand Government’s official accreditation programme that gives consumers around the globe assurances that the manuka honey, lipstick or milk powder they buy has a genuine Kiwi connection.
In a recent move to give greater protection, FernMark added Trust Codes to its range of tools to promote trust and authenticity.
Sarah Morgan is the marketing manager for New Zealand Story, the team that manages the FernMark programme.
“Trust Codes were introduced to the programme in March, 2017 because the technology gives consumers an accessible system to check if products they are contemplating buying are genuinely of New Zealand,” says Morgan.
The Trust Code programme gives FernMark licensees access to a unique QR code to include on product packaging.
The QR code gives customers information about the product and its authenticity.
In China, the country’s largest social media app, WeChat, contains a QR code reader and customers don’t need to install another app.
It may appear easy to copy and apply the QR code to a fake product but other information is collected when customers scan the code.
Paul Ryan, Trust Code's CEO and the brains behind the technology says Trust Codes can tell the brand owner useful information about where the QR code was scanned and other information to aid marketing and brand activities.
“Our algorithms can instantly assess whether something is amiss with the product or reassure consumers that it is authentic,” says Ryan.
“Brand owners can quickly take action against copies or fake products, which is vital for the businesses’ long-term reputation.
“With more than 840 million active WeChat users, it is an ideal way for Chinese customers to use Trust Codes to identify genuine and safe products.”
A simple Trust Code is available for all FernMark licensees, which is brand specific and takes consumers directly to the brand owners’ dedicated page on the FernMark licence programme’s website.
Customers can confirm the authenticity of the licensee status and products, and they can share information about the products via social media, including WeChat.
FernMark licensees have the option of adopting the full Trust Code cloud-based system that generates a cryptographically unique QR code for every single item, such as every bottle of wine, and gives the highest level of brand protection.
Trust Codes also comply with updated food labelling regulations introduced to China, which is important for New Zealand exporters. They work around the globe and can protect New Zealand exporter brands in all marketplaces.