Honesty really is the best policy

Honesty really is the best policy
Joel Newport
February 26, 2015
Illustrated Joel Newport with William Shakespear

There are thousands of blog posts listing all the things you should be doing to craft your marketing strategy for the year. Many are tactical, some are truly strategic and still others are more like mysterious sage advice from people who are convinced they have a crystal ball that can predict trends. But I keep coming back to a phrase that all parents have said to their children at least once in their lives: Honesty is the best policy. As customers increase their expectations, they tend to look at services and products more like commodities, making assumptions that all businesses in a category are more or less the same. So to stand out, you need to differentiate and give your customers something more meaningful that they can get behind.

Be honest with yourself.

Probably the hardest thing to do is to be honest about who you are. What are your company’s values? What do you truly believe? Many organizations struggle with wanting to appear like something they are not because it looks good. Sit down with your team and really take a look at your brand values. If you or your employees don’t buy it, why would anybody else?

Be honest about your goals.

What you want to accomplish and whom you want to reach is paramount in a strong marketing plan. Broad demographics don’t really cut it anymore, so you really need to understand the category you are competing in. To find the emotional values that trigger consumer trust, you have to dig deep to see where your company’s goals align with your customer’s goals. Then you can give your customers content to support those goals. When this content is in alignment with company goals, there is an authenticity that resonates with customers, adding value to the brand.

Be honest with your customer.

Here at Güd Marketing, we pride ourselves on being masterful storytellers. Our marketing pieces have garnered numerous awards and, more important, outstanding results for our clients. The secret to our success isn’t a secret at all. It’s simply that the stories we tell reflect the real brand values of our clients. We all want to inspire people to take action or create change, but if the stories are not authentic, if they are not tightly bound to the company’s values, then we become entertainers, not marketers. Eventually, customers will see through the song and dance and the show will be over.

So as you look at the latest digital trends and marketing advice, remember what your mom said: Be true to yourself, your product or service and your customer. Honesty is the best policy, and that’s a trend that savvy consumers will never tire of.