Never has the truth been more important.
To borrow a phrase — “Marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling it…now it is about finding a truth and sharing it”.
And never has the truth been more important.
Today we have less trust in the system and the institutions that is built upon than ever before according the Edelmans 2017 trust barometer. It’s a depressing but essential read.
In the UK; trust by the mass population in the institutions of business, media, NGOs and government has fallen to an index figure of 37. That’s not just a decrease in trust, that’s active distrust. And the gap between trust from mass populations vs the informed public has increased to 15 points, up from 9 in 2012 as society become ever more fragmented.
This lack of trust is linked to increasing levels of fear across the globe, with 40% of people fearing corruption, 28% immigration, 27% globalisation, 25% eroding social values and 22% fearing the pace of innovation.
Every single one of us is going to have to work to not only restore trust in the system, but to reevaluate the role of the institutions within it and its value to all members of society.
At the same time; marketing and marketers are becoming ever more important in business. Marketers are constantly in touch with consumer opinion and demands through advertising, social media conversations, and access to sales data, making them the canary in the mine telling businesses what consumers really fear and what they need.
This presents marketers with the opportunity (and challenge!) of becoming the champion and defender of the consumer truth.
Marketers can use consumer insight to help create products and services that fulfill a real consumer and societal need; rebuilding trust in business. E.g. last years #sharetheload campaign from Ariel not only sold washing powder, but created conversation and awareness around the very real societal problem of household inequality in India.
The more I look around our industry the clearer it’s becoming that the passion of individuals within business to do the right thing by consumers is driving huge success for many large organisations.
Just look at Tesco’s recent turnaround as they refocused on consumers under Dave Lewis stewardship; delivering a refreshed advertising campaign communicating their ‘every little helps’ message, and creating product improvement by making sure that more staff are visibly present in store, and that product availability is improved, plus, they’ve committed huge resource and attention to their food waste recovery partnership with Fareshare, as well as their charity partnership with the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK which help people make healthier choices, showing a genuine focus on helping consumers at every level.
Marketers have the passion, the assets and the business value to take a stand on behalf of consumers and society; helping to rebuild trust.
So do you stand for and what are you doing about it?