FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Earning Trust in a Post-Truth Age

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by Eric

We used to say the truth was slippery. If we could never quite grasp it, still we believed it was out there somewhere, swimming the currents of events, perspective, and time. And as slippery as it might have been, getting at the truth mattered.

These days, by contrast, truth is not only more difficult than ever to pin down, for many it’s become unimportant to the point that they consider adherence to objective facts to be a weakness. It’s no wonder, then, that “post-truth” is Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year, “post-truth politics” has its own Wikipedia page, and his spokespeople say that the president of the United States of America should be taken “seriously but not literally” and that untruths from his administration are actually “alternative facts.”

In this environment, trust is at a premium in business as well as in politics. If over time you show people that you’re telling them the truth, they’ll become loyal customers. But if customers feel betrayed by your company or your brand, it can destroy your reputation—and your bottom line. Here’s what you need to do to earn and keep trust in the marketplace:

1. Know your customer. Want customers to trust you? Show them that you understand them—that you know what the world looks like through their eyes. To do this, take the pulse of customers regularly—informally, in the course of business conversations, as well as formally via questionnaires and polls.

2. Deliver what you promise. Trust is earned. If your product doesn’t do what you say it does, if you fail to meet service-level promises, or if your company behaves in ways that contradict your brand promise, there’s no good reason for customers to trust you—which can be a Very Big Deal for your bottom line. Just ask Volkswagen, which severely tarnished its reputation by misleading consumers and regulators about diesel emissions—and cost itself tens of billions of dollars in the process.

3. Protect your reputation online. While programmatic advertising has made online advertising more cost-effective, it also makes it possible that your ads will appear alongside content that you do not want associated with your brand. One recent example: over concerns that their ads were accompanying hate-speech videos on YouTube, companies including AT&T, Verizon, PepsiCo, Walmart, Starbucks, General Motors, and Johnson & Johnson pulled advertising from Google.

Meanwhile, the nature of the internet means that stories about your company can spread like, well, viruses—regardless of whether those stories are true. For example, consider McDonald’s, which recently found itself the victim of a viral rumor that its burgers were made using worms. (They’re not.)

The most immediate thing you can do to protect your reputation online is to engage on social media. Follow what people are saying about you, so you can proactively manage challenges like fake news about your company or your ads appearing where they shouldn’t. You can use tools to make it easy. Or, if you have the budget, you can employ an online reputation management (ORM) firm to take care of it for you.

4. Add value with content marketing. Developing an ongoing relationship with customers is a great way to build trust—and brand loyalty. Content marketing is one of the best ways available for engaging customers. The key is to deliver real, specific value to customers—when they most need it, in a voice that speaks to them. This can mean educating and entertaining a broad audience with ads; delivering thought leadership to decision-makers via white papers, blog posts, and articles; or overcoming obstacles to sales via case studies. And make sure to use customer personas and creative briefs to create the most-effective content marketing possible.

In an environment like ours, where the concept of truth is under assault, the way to stand out among customers is not to embrace post-truth. Rather, it’s to show them that your brand is and will remain a beacon of truth.

Tags

, , , , , ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Don’t Fear the Editor: An Expert Support Team in One Professional

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 by Lisa S.

You’re a marketing expert, not a writer. In any case, whatever your job title, odds are good that you don’t exactly look forward to handing your writing over to an editor. Maybe it’s the memory of a particular red-pen-wielding third-grade teacher, or a particularly embarrassing typo in an important presentation. Or maybe you’re just a […]

Tags

,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, Uncategorized

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Naming Matters: Eschew the Fancy “E”

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Laurel

  I was traveling on a train recently and I found myself staring at the station sign at Bay Pointe, the name of a new housing development. Is it pronounced “bay point” or “bay point-ee” or “bay point-ay?” I wondered. Who decided on that spelling? What’s the deal with that Fancy E? Adding that superfluous […]

Tags

,

Posted In

How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Purple Throwback Thursday: 5 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from Prince

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Kate

The beautiful Purple One is, sadly, gone. His most enduring legacy will be his virtuoso guitar playing followed by fabulous showmanship in a killer wardrobe. But there are other ways Prince left his mark, and content marketers could learn a thing or two from him in our own work. Stories and visual prose are more […]

Tags

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, Throwback Thursday

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

6 Best Practices for Working With an Outside Content Provider

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 by Eric

I’ve been creating marketing content for clients small and large for more than 20 years. Most of the projects I’ve worked on have been enjoyable and even fun. Occasionally, though, things have turned south, putting an unpleasant taste in the mouths of everyone involved—client and content provider alike. To optimize the return on your investment […]

Tags

Posted In

How to Write a Great…

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Distance Makes the Writer Grow Fonder of Editors—Or, Bringing It Home with the TZ Advantage

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 by Lucy A.

For millennia, members of families—blood and work—lived mostly in the same area and were impacted considerably when one of their own struck out for distant pastures. But now that we’ve become wedged in the ethereal arms of technology, distance is a snap to negotiate. Electronic devices make it almost too convenient to move all forms […]

Tags

, ,

Posted In

Beyond the Style Guide, The Business of Copywriting

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

What Format Should We Use: Adobe InDesign or Microsoft PowerPoint?

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 by Allison and Todd

  “In the end, we want a PDF—but should we create it in InDesign or PowerPoint?” It’s a question frequently asked around here, and the answer is always the same: “It depends.” When deciding on an asset format, we ask our clients to consider the following: Design sophistication: Do you want a beautiful, slick, professional […]

Tags

, ,

Posted In

Techy Designer

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

The Oxford Comma Argument Rages On

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Chris

“Nothing, but nothing—profanity, transgender pronouns, apostrophe abuse—excites the passion of grammar geeks more than the serial, or Oxford, comma,” according to The New Yorker. Much like asking creative types if they put one space or two after a period, demanding they pick a side in the serial-comma debate can spark fistfights, especially now that we’ve […]

Tags

Posted In

Ask the Grammar Queen, The Business of Copywriting

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Vector or Raster = Huh?

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 by Michelle

You’ve received a request for a vector logo file from the Content Bureau’s graphic designer. If you’re confused about what that means, and about the difference between image file types, you’re not alone. Let’s chat about these two image file types—vector and raster—and discuss how each is used for various marketing collateral. Vector Files Vector […]

Tags

,

Posted In

Techy Designer

Related posts

FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Email
RSS

Be a Superstar Reviewer: Four Tips for Getting What You Want from Your Copywriter

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Ruth

All marketing managers want to get the most from their copywriting budgets. When you hire the Content Bureau, we’ll typically ask you to review up to three drafts of copy. Is there a right way to review B2B copy? Absolutely! For best results, make your feedback the following: Timely. Just like a box of cereal […]

Tags

, ,

Posted In

How to Write a Great…, The Business of Copywriting

Related posts