Traditionally, the role of advertising has been to position and manipulate brands to convince consumers they’re imbued with qualities they don’t necessarily possess, or presume to tell them which ones matter. It worked when the brand’s voice was the only voice, but with the rise of social media that era is over. Marketers have scrambled to fill the chasm by focusing on entertainment, creating funny or engaging campaigns that win awards, but don’t always sell products. That’s because consumers are ultimately looking to determine what’s true, and smart companies have realized that every communications medium should be used to contribute to those conclusions.
In Tell The Truth, Sue Unerman and Jonathan Salem Baskin have identified the 8 actions that do it. Their research of hundreds of companies and in-depth case studies on more than 50 global brands reveal the specific ways truthful brands deliver sales, profits, and true competitive advantage.
Competition – What you need to do
Sue and Jonathan really believe in the power, creativity and freshness that new talent can bring to the industry, which is why, in association with MediaCom, they are holding a competition for university and business school students to show off their skills.
We are looking for the bright and hungry to come up with a solution to the brief, based on the understanding that brands that Tell The Truth are the ones that truly succeed.
You can find some tips from the book below, or alternatively you can purchase it here (though no purchase or fee of any sort are required to enter the contest):
The winning entry will win a summer 2013 internship at MediaCom, either in the UK or US office. For more information on MediaCom visit www.mediacom.com. The winner will also be a star Truth Teller weekly blogger, giving insights into the world of marketing to other students looking for inspiration and ideas.
The best entrants will also be featured in an exclusive ebook entitled Truth Tellers: How Tomorrow’s Leaders Will Change Today’s Brands, which will be made available to corporate leaders around the world, as well as to all participants in the contest.
8 Ways to Brand Truth
- Acknowledge reality.
- Deliver real changes to services and company structure.
- Take the consumer on your brand truth journey with you.
- Enlist third-party advocates.
- Be close.
- Find a Truth Turning Point.
- Use point of action media.
- Leverage routine.
Take on board your consumers’ understanding of reality before you try to change it. Address what the consumers know is true before trying to persuade them of something different.
Consumers will only believe you if what you tell them is not just what you say, but also what you do. You can’t convince these days with just a plausible message; it must be made tangibly real through your very practices and implementation.
Tell customers clearly what you want them to know, give them a clearly signposted path to discovering it (not just a portion or version of it). Don’t be vague, don’t communicate a fuzzy warmth about your brand. Be specific and directional.
Third-party advocates are essential. Third-party involvement — not just as audiences of “influencers” but active co-definers – must be an integral part of your brand truth, both to help to create it and then to defend it over time
However huge or global an idea or information might be, it is literally experienced locally when it’s consumed. Recognizing this and using this quality to competitive advantage has huge power, as exploiting nearness and delivering its true relevance can differentiate between what’s believed and what is unbelievable.
Truth isn’t just an extended narrative over time, but a moment — a Truth Turning Point, or “TTP” — when brands challenge conventions, defy expectations, and surprise consumers by speaking directly to them.
Few brands fully exploit the context of their messaging by ensuring the meaning in the message is delivered at the time when it is most useful and therefore easiest to act on or do something about.
Most people spend most of their time in routine activity: If you can either fit into an established routine or create a new one then your brand wins. If you can become the routine truth for your customer then the clutter of everyday living works to your advantage.
Brand truth exists and it can work for you. It’s unavoidable, additive, and very sticky, and its experience is immediate, useful, and ongoing. Tell the Truth is your detailed guide on how to do become a truth teller and thereby create and deliver true competitive advantage for your brand.
The contest will be judged by a panel of eminent marketing professionals including of course Sue and Jonathan, together with: MediaCom’s Global CEO Stephen Allan; MediaCom USA’s CEO Sasha Savic; Don Schultz Professor Emeritus-in-Service, Northwestern University; Ken Wheaton, Managing Editor, Advertising Age; Claire Beale, Editor, Campaign; and Vic Davies of Bucks New University.
There will be four judging criteria with equal weight :
Insight, Originality, Flexibility, Affordability
The deadline is November 30 2012 for 1000 words explaining how Brand X can gain a significant competitive advantage by Telling The Truth.
Please submit your word doc by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms and Conditions of Submission
The closing date for submission is November 30 2012.
- Successful candidates will be notified within 60 days of closure of the competition (the “Notification Date”).
- The judge’s decision is final.
- You will have 10 working days from receiving a written confirmation of the offer to confirm your acceptance of the internship.
- Failure to respond and confirm your acceptance within this timeframe will result in the offer of internship being withdrawn.
- The applicant must be available to commence the internship on July 1st 2013
- In submitting your entry you acknowledge that your contact details will be shared with those involved in the competition.
- By entering you are giving full permission and rights for publication of your entry.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
- Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited university.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old as of the date that the internship commences [see commencement date].
- Applicants wishing to apply for a US internship must be legally authorized to work in the US. Applicants will be asked to supply evidence of eligibility to work in the US.
- Applicants wishing to apply for a UK internship must be legally authorised to work in the UK. Applicants will be asked to supply evidence of eligibility to work in the UK.
- The term of the internship will be a minimum of 2 months, the timing of which will be determined by MediaCom, in its sole discretion, after consultation with the successful applicant (the “Term”).
- The intern will not be entitled to an offer of employment at the conclusion of the Term.
- The internship will be paid at a rate of $10 per hour in the US based on an expected 40 hours per week.
- The internship will be paid a minimum of £4.98 per hour in the UK (depending on age) based on an expected 34.5 hours per week.
- Travel, accommodation and expenses are not included.
- The US interns will not be eligible for medical or 401k benefit.
- The intern will be eligible for time off during public holidays and any annual leave attributed to them during the term of the internship.