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Tell The Truth2016-09-20T12:16:16+00:00


Unerman & Salem Baskin

The one-sentence summary

In an age of information overload, the most effective way for a brand to stand out is to tell the truth.


  • With regard to content, brands need to:
    • Acknowledge reality (there are 5 ways to do this: forceful, functional, funny, fair, forecasted)
    • Deliver real change to services and company structure (any claimed truth must be matched in reality)
    • Take consumers on the brand truth journey with you (allow them to participate and create communities)
    • Enlist third-party advocates (identify and nurture your natural fans and those you can win round: look at employees, cynics, advocates, critics, and agnostics)
  • With regard to context, brands should:
    • Be close (tailor all communications to be locally relevant: propinquity is nearness in place or time)
    • Find a Truth Turning Point (identify and orchestrate surprise moments when telling the truth would make a real difference: this can include ignoring the script, breaking the format, exceeding the platform, expanding the brief, ‘being’ the quote, or interrupting a journey)
    • Use point-of-action media (communicate when the consumer is most open to hearing from you)
    • Leverage routine (what are your customers’ regular routines and where does the brand fit in it?)


  •  Marketing with honesty is the only strategy that truly works, because customers stay more loyal. Equally, the absence of truth could be the death of a brand.
  • Make your brand a relentless source of factual data, let people disagree, and actively encourage debate. That means communicating clearly, creatively, and collaboratively.
  • The Guardian defines the truth as engagement with purpose, vetting of facts, and qualified participation.
  • Amusingly, the top British traits are talking about the weather, queuing and sarcasm.