Honesty is the best policy.
Your mother probably told you this growing up when you were caught telling a little white lie or a whopper of a tale. But there is value in that lesson—especially when it comes to marketing and engaging with the public.
With social media, brands are constantly being monitored and a public relations mistake or story can go viral in a matter of seconds. If you’re not honest with consumers, stray too far from your brand, and most importantly—don’t address a problem and engage in an authentic way, you’ll have trouble building trust with your audience in the long-term. And no one wants the public to lose confidence in their brand.
Social media has made people more savvy when it comes to how they engage with brands. Previously, an ad campaign was all it took to tell a brand story. Now it’s people who can send out a tweet or a post, making what was once consolidated brand story telling effort into thousands or millions of voices with an opinion on who you are and what you do.
More and more, consumers seek out brands with a cause, a purpose and a mission—and brands telling their stories must make sure they find authentic ways to advocate for something while also remaining true to their brand. Too much spin, and people will quickly dismiss your efforts as insincere and move onto the next.
While social media can add real pressure to businesses and brands, it also provides an amazing opportunity for consumers to be your brand ambassador. I think each of us know a product or service we recommend to our friends and rave about. If that brand feels aligned with our values and feels authentic, all the better.
So to my fellow public relations experts, marketing gurus, branding champions, and anyone working to tell the story of their brand, non-profit, business or idea—ask yourself this question first: Is it authentic and is it honest? If it is, you have a great chance of connecting with your audience and growing your brand, because after all—honesty is the best policy.