Here's a novel approach for marketers when it comes to positioning their brand and building an image for it... Tell the Truth.
Truth in advertising -- or in marketing in general -- hasn't always been the byword for marketers and those serving them in advertising and PR. And for that... shame on all of us. Advertising agency folks sometimes try to be selective with information, to put their client's products and services in the most favorable light. And marketers expect those of us in public relations to "spin" things so they may look like something they're really not.
Maybe that tactic worked for some in the past, but it likely won't fly these days. Sue Unerman, co-author of the book Tell the Truth, writes in a recent online issue of The Guardian that truth in marketing must be the rule now more than ever. The ease of finding the truth online and the pervasiveness of social media will surely expose any marketer whose marketing is not based on truth.
Lie or exaggerate in your marketing, says Unerman, and you not only risk losing a sale but you may lose a customer for life. Worse yet, you might anger some to the point where they'll make the effort to badmouth you every chance they get online, which can be a lot via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and all the other online avenues now available to get an opinion out.
Consumers do care about the truth, and now they have greater access to finding the truth. So marketers -- and those of us who serve them -- need to keep it real. We need to remember what ad man David Ogilvy said some 50 years ago. "The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife." Of course, it applies to male consumers as well and all those consumers are more educated than ever before. You can't pull the wool over their eyes. And if you do and you get caught at it, your brand will surely pay.
Keeping it real might make the marketing communications job more challenging for us in advertising and public relations. But hey, isn't that what they pay us for?