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What You See is What You Get: The Honest Advertising Revolution

Picture commerce twenty years ago. One had a need, and sought the service of mail catalogs or storefront help. A little more than ten years ago, a revolution occurred, drastically changing the face of marketing and commerce. Businesses began offering information along with services and products online

Honest Advertising

Through the years, hesitant and inexperienced consumers grew curious, spending more time online for entertainment and commercial purposes. For example, social media use grew 800% in the last eight years. Just about anyone, from Obama to grandma has a Facebook profile or Twitter account. The person-to-person interaction is unique, unlike never before, uniting people from around the world. Similarly, the business-to-consumer dynamic is cutting edge, demanding increased transparency and honesty.

The honest advertising revolution is here, and here are ways brands take advantage.

Being Transparent

It’s difficult to get a child to admit they did wrong. They are not yet privy to the importance of owning to one’s mistakes. Grownup brand associates and owners are well aware of the importance of transparency; that means openly accepting accolades and grievances, and especially searching for ways to resolve the latter. Whether a brand is ready to accept the responsibility of transparency or not, consumers who use social media are quick to ‘call out’ lousy service; being transparent is not only beneficial but a regular activity of successful brands.

Being Reactive

Traditional advertising is proactive. Brands produce marketing materials, situating for optimal market awareness and reaction. However, traditionally, consumers had no way to be proactive (on a grand scale) in relating information to brands. Now, brands using social media can be reactive, thanking customers for sharing articles, answering questions, and inquiring about used services. Reacting to consumers builds advocacy, as the Martin Lindstrom Branding Workshop teaches. Social media introduces a beneficial balance of proactive and reactive opportunity.

Being Personable

Have you ever looked at a company logo and wondered about the people hiding behind it? Furthermore, do you wonder why some businesses prefer to keep a ‘low profile?’ Honest advertisers are not shy about showcasing owners, executives, and workers through social media profiles, blog diary entries, and other means of personable expression. Being personable, like human interaction, does wonders for business-to-consumer dynamics. In some industries, where little features differ among competing products, a bit of good personality goes a long way, helping consumers make purchasing decisions. Imagine engaging in a trivial interaction, such as buying coffee. Would you rather have the barista smile, asking, ‘How are you?’ or come upon an emotionless dispenser? People appreciate personality; today’s brands show it through social media interaction.

The honest advertising revolution is here to stay, solidified by an increasing interest in social media and erupted business-to-consumer boundaries. Brands that are transparent in accepting accolades and faults, reactive in addressing consumer needs and interaction, and go beyond in expressing personality, are winning repeat and lasting consumers. The new age of marketing is not so estranged from traditional marketing, yet the introduction of more voices and opinions interacting and making impressions, place honest brands at an advantage.

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