Authenticity, Trust and Transparency in Marketing

What happens when you really care? Think about those closest to you. Your spouse, family and closest friends. Why are they the ones closest to you? In most cases, they trust and know you. As people, we are generally a little stand off-ish when people attempt to try to get to know us right away. I mean, it takes a long time to build a relationship. That relationship is based on day-after-day of showing up, or not. Of putting our money where our mouth is. Delivering on what we say we can. Doing what we say we will. It’s built on integrity. We all think about integrity and we all think we have a great deal of it. But the question then becomes, what do we really have integrity with? Maybe we really care about looking good. Some really care about being right. These are just two things that have eroded trust in marketing.

Agencies seem to care more about looking good to their board, executives, shareholders and earning reports than they do about their client. Where and when did this change? When did clients just become a number that we add to the bottom line? As a company, do we really care about our clients, their families and their businesses? Or are we trying to do just enough to keep them happy so they re-sign with us for another year? Do we listen to our clients and put their objectives above our company objectives? If we search deep down, we all know the answer to this.

Client – We want to do more for Non-profit, help others and encourage others to help. Client sets the budget at $500k

Agency – Conflicted with what ideas to pitch. Do they pitch what’s best for the client and non-profits or what is best for shareholder and agency earnings report?

Agency pitches an idea that has $450k in production, management, travel, site-fees, creative and agency fees, leaving 10% or $50k to actually helping others.

The adage, “the customer is always right” has never been more spot on than it is today. When I worked for Disney, the only thing that ever mattered was our guest. In my mind, Disney and The Four Seasons Hotels are the two best customer service brands that exist in the world. It’s also the reason that their “guests” pay a premium for these experiences. The thing that these two companies have is common is the one thing that matters more than their bottom line. A wearing away of the perception of their brand. As an experiential marketing agency, do you listen to your clients? Or do you propose the same cookie cutter strategies that other clients have passed on, just to make things easier on you and the agency. Are you really listening to what your clients want? Or are you just waiting for your turn to pitch them what will benefit you and upselling them at every turn.

There is no doubt that these are some tough questions. Now more than ever, tools exist for brands to successfully market themselves. Why should they choose your agency? They will choose your agency because they trust YOU.