Yesterday, as part of our excursion, we toured MediaCom and were given a talk by Sue Unerman, the Chief Strategy Officer as well as co-author of Tell the Truth. Tell the Truth proposes the idea that truth is a powerful marketing tool, and the best way to effectively promote a message and brand. She explained that truth in the advertising world has long been something to ignore or downplay; but in our current time (the Age of Dialogue) “with social media on the ascent,” consumers will decide what’s true and will be more likely to choose a product or service when they feel they aren’t being misled. Unerman mentioned that advertising is more effective when shown a slight “downside” to something: for instance, the beer Stella Artois is marketed as “Reassuringly Expensive.” Consumers are more likely to trust this brand because of Stella’s transparency.
Transparency, by the way, is a huge buzz word in the world of public relations. Although it’s not something to be thrown around casually; transparency should be more of a principal than a marketing tactic. Whether or not this differs from how advertisers utilize truth-telling, transparency is extremely important in PR not only because it helps construct the reputation of a company, but because it is an important tenet in the code of ethics that all PR specialists should adhere to. This is why Sue Unerman’s talk resonated with me—telling the truth will always be your greatest asset. Companies should resolve to be transparent, instead of merely showing transparency. The difference is significant; think of it being as how a company communicates, instead of simply what they communicate.
I think transparency, in all aspects of communication, should be a top priority. Especially in today’s world, with the rise of social media, the best way to build a reputation or reach out to consumers is to respect them and refrain from putting a spin on anything. The most effective message is one that has nothing to hide.
(quote source: sueunerman.com)