I attended a business marketer’s luncheon last week at which industry guru Andy Sernovitz was the speaker. He spoke about honest marketing—a radical concept, huh? Except it does seem to be more novel than I first thought. Andy gave the example of Nokia’s commercial for the new Lumia smartphone which features image-stabilizing functions. In it a young couple is in the shaky situation (for a camera) of riding bikes and taking video. The commercial shows side by side footage with and without the image-stabilization. However, a reflection reveals the girl is not being filmed by the boy on a bike but instead by a man in a van, holding a professional video camera. Watch the commercial>>
A huge black mark for Nokia as well as those who produced the commercial. Did you catch that? Nokia’s brand may be taking the hard hit but this also reflects badly on the third parties involved in the advertising.
As a marketing professional, what if you are hired to write fake restaurant reviews to post online? And you figure, “so what, it’s a paid gig and it’s their bad idea, not mine. It’s their reputation at stake, not mine.” I beg to differ. Deceptive marketing sullies the industry and leads good business people astray. It allows the pervasive idea of marketing “spin” to live on.
As a business owner, work only with those who refuse to use deceptive marketing tactics. How do you know if you’re on the right track? Understanding your core values will help you draw a line in the sand. I.e., “We value customer relationships therefore we will always be honest in our communications.” Educate your team about those values. Convey them to vendors and referral partners.
“If you’re being sneaky or deceptive, you will get busted. Consumers today are incredibly savvy and independent, with the information and resources to catch you in a lie and tell everyone about it. The power of the consumer voice will make dishonest companies pay a steep price.” —Andy Sernovitz, Word of Mouth Marketing
Even a little misleading or manipulative marketing will always get exposed. Your customers will assume they can’t trust you or your company because of it and you will lose sales. A hefty price for being sneaky.
Need help building an honest marketing campaign? Call us today—we’ll help you spread a message you can be proud of.