How chasing authenticity and transparency can drive away your customers
The main point: “Words like transparency and authenticity, and the marketing actions they incite, are meant for the customer, but they are still about you. Your customer will care about these things if they serve as latticework for their imagination and the vision they have of their self.”
We have a bad habit.
And — as is occasionally the case — this habit is the product of trying to listen and act upon good advice, At all costs, make sure your organization’s marketing message is transparent and authentic.
Ok, what’s wrong with that?
While trying to work up to this sentiment, we tend to overextend and we frame the mindset of our customers around the pieces of our message that we are working so hard to feature, in this case: authenticity and transparency.
Pretty soon transparency becomes robotic; feature-driven. Authenticity becomes a four hundred word About page and a sales pitch that sounds more like a history of the company. What’s forgotten are your dynamic and imaginative customers, and what they desire.
Desire? Don’t our customers desire to buy products and use services that are open and honest, clear and simple? Yes… but…
They are only interested in these things as long as their imagination is engaged and encouraged. The product or service is a part of their story, their journey to actualize the person they imagine themselves to be.
The desirability of our offer is founded on our ability to ignite their imagination.
Do I care that Nike’s basketball shoes have a ‘sculpted, padded collar and an exterior heel counter that provides a stable fit?’ Sure, as long as I can imagine myself driving the lane and hitting pull-up jumpers.
Does it matter to me that Toyota’s new RAV4 features Safety Sense 2.0? Yes, if my wife and son are getting home every day comfortable, happy, and in one piece.
Do I care that Charity:Water is going to provide clean water to tens of thousands of people each month? Absolutely, if I get to feel generous and caring and a part of something larger than myself.
Words like transparency and authenticity, and the marketing actions they incite, are meant for the customer, but they are still about you. Your customer will care about these things if they serve as latticework for their imagination and the vision they have of their self.
So when writing copy, wiring pages for your website, or structuring emails to go out to your list, be authentic and transparent, but never at the cost of your customer’s ability to imagine who they will be while using your product or service.