Marketing for the Post-Truth Office
Populism. Post-truth. Fake news. What’s real and what’s an opinion these days? And how much weight does either now carry? In a world where a fact is refuted in favour of something alternative that sounds a bit better, how do you, as a brand, mark yourself out as genuine?
This is the conundrum being considered by consumer insights analyst TrendWatching. Its new report TrendWatching Quaterly, entitled Truthful Consumerism, looks at the future of consumerism and the pressures of brand reputation in a ‘post-truth’ society.
“Societies feel more polarised than ever and the commentary has been endless,” TrendWatching lead writer David Mattin tells us. “We were interested in what all this means for the future of business and consumerism. It is clearly a volatile environment for brands, so how can they thrive in this new moment?”
The future of consumerism and the pressures of brand reputation in a polarised, ‘post-truth’ society
Trust and content
In the content marketplace, trust is the currency that changes hands. If the consumer can’t trust the branded content that they are presented with, then it serves no purpose. It’s just noise – a business story told for the sake of it. If I don’t trust what a brand tells me, why would I be inclined to engage with it or buy anything?
Now, it’s easy to be truthful; funnily enough you stick to the facts. But if you inhabit a world that casts doubt on even that, things start to get difficult. TrendWatching says that as of the beginning of 2017, trust in major institutions – in governments, in the media and in businesses – is “falling to all-time lows”.
If ever there was a time for proving your power as a brand, now is a unique chance to show it off
This polarisation stirs up considerable anger on both sides of play, and creating a counter narrative that is rooted in the truth is getting harder and harder.
Look at taxi app giant Uber and the issues surrounding Donald Trump’s so-called ‘travel ban’; the #deleteUber hashtag prompted people to ditch 200,000 accounts. Even Uber’s President Jeff Jones quit late last week, allegedly felled by the recent furore.
Creating a counter narrative that is rooted in the truth is getting harder and harder
Or how about Budweiser, which rebranded as ‘America’ during the 2016 US presidential election, only to then enrage Trump supporters when it aired a Superbowl TV ad with a pro-immigration message?
I mean, what does it say about the power of post-truth when one of the nation’s favourite beers manages to infuriate a chunk of its audience? Don’t forget this was the Superbowl; they were probably drinking a Bud at exactly the time the advert aired. How many flat screen TVs were drenched that day?
Still, as with every obstacle, the savvy amongst you have an opportunity to make your mark and stand out. You just need a bit of a strategy for telling the truth. Which is a weird thing to have to think about, but there we go.
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