The importance of authentic marketing.

Posted on: June 12th | Filed under: Branding

I am not just a Creative Director.  I am a consumer. And I tend to be a jaded one at that. Not because I am part of the sausage making machinery that some people claim marketing to be. But because, as a consumer, I have been disappointed over and over by the misleading messages and hyperbole marketers will use to sell stuff. It’s gotten to the point where so much of it is noise. It’s my opinion that the best way to stand out is to be as authentic as possible. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s a unique way to sell.

A lifetime ago, back when I was in high school (that social microcosm designed to devour the weak), I had formed an unlikely friendship with a guy in my class who was what you’d call a ‘Big Man on Campus.’ At one point during class, he turned to me and said, “You know, Scott, you can’t make everyone like you. And you shouldn’t even try.” For a somewhat neurotic teen like myself, this was an epiphany. I was a happier kid in school from that point on. Here comes the ‘marketing is like high school’ part: You’ll be happier with your brand if you’re not putting on some kind of act. What’s worse, your prospect and customers may smell ‘phony’ all over you and run for the hills.

Let’s take a slightly deeper look at the importance of authenticity from the consumer’s point of view. A while back, I sold my car on eBay. I paid for a simple 4-picture listing to showcase my beautiful, gently used silver Honda Accord Coupe. Being an ad man, I thought I knew the right angles to make the care look its very best. And when I scanned other listings, I was quite proud of how great my car and listing looked. A week later, no bids. No bites. Although a handful of inquiries came in asking about the imperfections. I politely replied about the small ding here, and the barely noticeable blemish there. And maybe there was a scratch on the undercarriage. But that wasn’t enough. They asked for photos are this stuff.

And then it hit me.

Buyers want to know everything about my vehicle… way more than any dealership would present in their advertising. They wanted to whole truth. The authentic offer. Complete and utter reality. So, the following week, I purchased the 12-Picture listing from eBay, leaving the four aforementioned beauty shots, but adding 8 more pictures of every mar, scratch or ding I could find. I wound up selling my vehicle in three days. Lesson learned: Get real, get business.

If you are in charge of a brand, be true to who you are and what your products and services really do. That way, you will attract customers who can really benefit from what you offer. Sounds simple right? Yet so many marketers give in to the temptation of either sounding or looking like some competitor, or by over-promising benefits they can’t live up to.

Is your brand a true reflection of you, your products and the customers you serve? If not, get in touch.

Link to this article: