Why honesty works in marketing
Most people have grown up hearing phrases like ‘honesty is the best policy’. However, in your marketing, it can be very tempting to stretch or bend the truth to try to convince your customer.
Tempting as it may be, dishonesty in marketing is never a good idea. Why? Because the world today is incredibly transparent, and dishonesty is always discovered.
A 2017 report from Sprout Social, showed the top seven characteristics that people want from brands:
– 86% want brands to be honest
– 83% wants brands to be friendly
– 78% want brands to be helpful
– 72% want brands to be funny
– 43% want brands to be trendy
– 39% want brands to be politically correct
– 33% want brands to be snarky
When it comes to brand trust, it’s no surprise that honesty is the number one most valued characteristic. And recent PR fiascos like the United Airline debacle we have a valuable lesson about the importance of transparency and honesty to customers.
Authenticity is a buzzword today. We hear about the value of it in relationships, politics and in marketing.
However, there is a problem: marketing by nature isn’t very authentic. Each company tries to position themselves in the best light, rising above competitors and omitting details that may be bad for their image. When this goes too far, the general public will start to lose trust in the brand.
Perhaps the easiest way to be authentic as a brand is to not overpromise. If you can provide a specific service or product, don’t oversell on features or benefits that don’t exist. If your product has extra costs (such as shipping, taxes, fees) show them as a part of the total cost up front.
This doesn’t mean you can’t give excellent service or a wow experience. It means that you don’t sell on these aspects unless you can consistently deliver on them.
Don’t get abandoned
Most of us have stopped buying from a business or brand because they had poor customer service or inferior products. Even though their marketing probably didn’t warn us about the reality, we discovered it for ourselves.
Today, with online reviews and social media, it is incredibly risky to not provide your customers an exceptional level of service. Some studies have shown that brand mistrust is as high as 62% for some people. To stand out from the crowd, you must have exemplary honesty and reliability in what you provide.
Another key detail is to not keep changing your core values, or the branding that represents them. Staying faithful to what your customers know and love about you is key.
It’s okay to fail, just be open about it
If a product has defects or isn’t delivering as promised, it is best to tell your clients. They are loyal to your brand for a reason, and even though they might be getting something less than what they initially expected, receiving truthful information and updates will maintain trust with them.
Think of your customers and clients as the ambassadors for your brand. Their opinions and trust in you is a much more valuable asset than ever before. If you are consistent in delivering a quality product and service and communicate to them with truthfulness, they are more likely to spread the word.