By Jennifer Oladipo
Senior Account Executive, Hughes Agency
In case you missed it, truth-telling is in these days. The “flawsome” trend that emerged a few years ago when a series of large companies began being more open about their missteps and mistakes has evolved into sincerity becoming a pillar of marketing. The simplified explanation is that people’s buying decisions are, in the end, emotional. Even in an information-heavy business-to-business buying journey, the reason people ultimately pull the trigger on purchases from laboratory equipment to automotive parts to staffing services is the way they feel about it. The feeling you want to foster in 2018 is trust.
But, what about when it feels like there’s nothing special to be honest about? You’ve got no major mistakes, no expansion or consolidation, no big initiatives, no redesign. You’re just showing up every day, marching toward success, pretty sure nobody’s interested in trudging along with you, right?
When there’s no “news,” you’ve got the perfect opportunity to pull back the curtain on what makes your organization tick. It’s time to look back, dig deep, dissect, and share. In your personal life, think about the stories you know best – the ones you tell again and again, and ones you don’t mind hearing every so often. We don’t need these stories to offer us novel or exciting information. Rather, they tug on a string somewhere inside you that resonates, and for whatever reason, you like the sound.
That feeling should be your guide when introducing transparency into your marketing efforts. Consider telling your audience stories spurred by:
- Hard-won successes you find yourself referring to again and again among peers and colleagues
- Experiences that, in hindsight, turned out to be defining moments for your organization
- Discovering a new product, process, or a missing link in serving your clients
- A time when your company needed to pivot to a new direction
- How your company was founded
- How a product or service came to define your work
- The inspiration behind your mission statement
What will make this work is sincerity and honesty. Remember the stories you love and share? Remember that resonating string? It’s made of true human experience – the only kind of communication that will have real staying power. When you’re thinking about these topics above, dig deeper than just the narrative of A happened, then B, then C. Ask yourself questions like:
- What was most exciting about this experience?
- What was painful?
- What lesson did it teach?
- What was surprising or completely unexpected?
- What visible or invisible changes resulted from the experience?
- What was funny about the experience?
- Would you go through it again if given the choice?
- How many people were involved, and how many were impacted?
There are countless more questions to ask, but I hope you get the main idea: Find a deeper meaning for yourself, and you’ve potentially found a deeper meaning for your audience.
Keep in mind that transparency works in many different types of marketing content. The stories you generate by taking a closer look at your history and environment can generate fodder for advertising copy, promotional videos, YouTube channels, social media posts, and more. I promise, you have at least a few of those stories lurking around, unexamined, in your business. What’s more, a significant portion of your audience is likely open to hearing them. All you need to do is take the time to look back, dig deep, dissect, and share.