Before making their way into dishes served by 5 star restaurants around the world, black truffles start their journey to the plate by being discovered and licked by a dog (or pig). Is that the kind of delicacy you are interested in? When you think about it, a lot of what we strive for or appreciate has questionable beginnings. The history of blood diamonds is another such example where for many years most people did not know the truth behind their selling. Throughout our world are delicacies, luxuries, status symbols and just plain products for which we are ignorant or would prefer to not know about the beginnings. Yet in an increasingly transparent world where the "backstories" of products and entire industries are now being exposed intentionally and unintentionally – the time of this happy ignorance seems destined to end. For some organizations, that brings another marketing opportunity and story to tell. For others, it’s a PR fiasco requiring a full crisis management plan and (hopefully) a change in process.
As information continues to flow more and more freely about the process behind the products we purchase, it is already bringing an age of the "easily enlightened consumer." That is, consumers who may not actively be seeking information about the origins of a product, but learn about them through easily accessible information online or word of mouth from credible sources they trust. When consumers are easily enlightened, secrets are hard to keep. And this turns out to be the true paradox for truffle hunters or sellers or any kind of highly sought after products or experiences. The end product is no longer the only thing that matters. How you get there makes a big difference, and may even be the difference between making a sale or losing it.
NOTE: This image of black truffles was purchased to use in this post from istockphoto.