3 Tips for Marketing Credibility

1. Buzzwords Don’t Mean Anything!

Let’s just put this out there.  Using buzzwords and advertising jargon like “leading edge”, “ripple effect”, “cross segment synergies” or “closed loop marketing” does not make a statement more impressive or credible. In fact, buzz words merely obscure what you’re really trying to say. For example, “Our leading edge technology will allow you to tap into cross segment synergies and create a ripple effect of closed loop marketing to impact your bottom line.”  What does that mean?  It means, “I’m an idiot and I don’t really know what I’m doing but I definitely want your money so let me try to impress you with my pseudo-vocabulary.” Today’s modern consumer is extremely informed, so they can smell the BS fairly easily. Recognize the personalities who use buzzwords and avoid them like the plague!

Check out this hilarious video, “Buzzwords are Painful” by Adobe.  It’s funny, but it’s also sad, because there’s truth in that parody.  That truth has been put on centre stage in recent years, painting marketers as exaggeratingly and painfully dishonest.  To avoid that stigma, use real language, straightforward language, to communicate with clients, consumers, and well, everybody. Respect and credibility will absolutely follow. 

2. Just Because People Are Talking About It, Doesn’t Mean It’s Good.

Remember this ad?

On The Fence - Canadian Wheat Board
On The Fence – Canadian Wheat Board

The Canada Wheat Board took a lot of heat for this ad, many asking what relevance, if any, this leggy pin-up girl had to do with selling grain.  The company staunchly defended the ad, touting its “PR appeal” and were, in fact, glad that people were talking about it, albeit negatively.  A wise man in our office said, “Well, when people stand around a pile of shit and say, “Hey look there’s a pile of shit!” is, at the end of the day, people talking about it.”

Other companies respond very differently to controversial feedback from their brand community.  ING Direct immediately pulled their recent RSP marketing campaign after many criticized the ads insensitivity for making light of mental illness.  Many praised ING Direct for their quick response, and the company has, in turn, received kudos on their social media platforms.  Some even went so far as to comment that the ads were funny and weren’t that bad.

 3. Truth Matters, Who Knew?

When I wanted to boycott McDonald’s, they came out with their “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign, publicly answering questions submitted by consumers, even the unflattering questions.  I was blown away by their honesty, and did NOT boycott them (although I did cut down because my butt was getting way too big, but that’s another story).  They were shouting the truth from the rafters, “Yes, fast food is unhealthy! Breaking news! I’m telling you everything you need to know about our food, so if you do eat it, it’s absolutely YOUR CHOICE.”  McDonald’s definitely got a lot of credit from their brand community for being upfront and honest, and for not trying to fool people anymore.

It’s time for marketers to tell the truth. Transparency will go a long way with today’s savvy consumers, who are bombarded with ads through multiple platforms online, on mobile/tablet devices, in print, and in broadcast TV/radio. It’s easy to see why brands are fighting tooth and nail to stand out, but you want to stand out for the right reasons.

As a brand, you want your community to see you as credible, as honest, right from the get go.  In creating advertising and marketing credibility,

“it is wise to remember that a lot of advertising is pilloried, and justifiably so, for being characterized by hare-brained ideas, lousy execution and flat-out lies. Creating advertising that works begins with building a solid messaging platform based on your firm’s core values. The truth of what your business offers, how diligently it delivers on its promises and how connected it is to its brand community are vital elements that will help you develop and judge ideas that connect with your audience and generate the results you want.” –Wayne S. Roberts (Great Ads Start with a Great Brief)

Let me know your thoughts! How do you feel about advertising buzzwords? Do you believe that any press is good press?

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Blade Brain Trust

The Blade Brain Trust brings you relevant insights to help you build your brand community.

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