An uncomfortable truth
The truth can be hard to face, but sometimes it’s just got to be heard.
Today I met a prospect. Lovely chap. Proud to be doing what he was doing.
He asked for my opinion on his new print collateral so hastily put two leaflets in front of me.
As I started to respond he began to apologise about the lead image, as if to “get it in” before me.
He then began to explain that it wasn’t a true reflection of what the organisation was about and that the people featured weren’t truly representative of who they were looking after, their end User.
In short, he was quite embarrassed. I felt for him.
His sector is a particularly sensitive and emotive one where truths aren’t “sexy” or indeed attractive in the typical mainstream advertising sense. It isn’t glossy. However, they felt the need to gloss over the truth. An understandable move in the circumstances.
Brands long for authenticity. To be the real deal. Many of them fall short trying to be something they’re not, fabricating a “brand story” or, worse still, faking provenance.
Interestingly, the truth here wasn’t about claiming to be something you’re not. No one is being lead up the garden path, not intentionally anyway. The truth here is that the truth is hard to take. Hard to fathom. Uncomfortable. How do you sell “uncomfortable”?
It’s right and proper to encourage a grounded and genuine portrayal of our client’s brands and to keep the authenticity gap* to a minimum. When your audience’s expectations can no longer see your brand’s promise then they’ve little chance of ever seeing one another again.