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My mother often tells me that you can trust no one, “You can’t even trust your right hand, because that one can chop your left hand off.” Thanks for the gruesome metaphoric advice, Mom. However, when it comes to advertising, it rings pretty true. Market research firm Lab42 just released a study that revealed that 76% of its respondents think advertisements contain exaggerated claims, and a mere 3% think ads are "very accurate."
According to Lab42's survey of 500 respondents, while 38% wish for more accuracy in advertising, only 17% would like to see more laws in the United States that regulate advertising. In the U.S., advertising is seen as free speech, but that's not the case in other countries such as the UK, where ads are routinely banned for being misleading or exaggerated.
A few years ago, Seth Godin wrote a book titled All Marketers Are Liars. His point? Marketers are storytellers, and over the years their stories have become unbelievable, very predictable, and no longer relevant.
How many times have you heard the vapid pitches "we care about you," "personal service," "ours is better," "lowest prices," or "100% guaranteed?" How many times have marketers claimed that their brand is "sportier," "sexier," "pure," "natural," "great tasting," or "good for you?"
Marketers used to use hype and exaggeration to get noticed and people would simply accept it. Not anymore. Today, if you want consumers to pay attention, you had better be truthful. And if you want them to fondly remember your brand, you'd better be emotional.
How do you become more truthful in your branding?
1. Take a step back and analyze your brand from an outsiders perspective
2. Take a look at your competitor
How are you the same? How are you different?
3. Identify your driving force
Which attributes do you need to do well just to be considered?
4. Get intimate with your customer
What interests them, makes them happy, and can improve their quality of life?
What do you think of these steps? Do you have any advice on telling a truthful brand story, if so, comment below!