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Better to be true than right

At the risk of treading into the overheated realm of politics, we were intrigued by The Atlantic’s article on what could be described as the Clinton brand. Putting aside the political analysis, this article points to larger shifts in branding that business marketers should pay heed to. Reading the article through the lens of Clinton as a proxy for Fortune 500 brands and the Obama as a proxy for start-up/disrupters, we can take away two important and game changing insights. First, loss of control. The ability to establish messages from on high and manage them through communication channels is becoming very difficult. This, traditional, approach to branding depended on a highly centralized and structured information distribution system. The internet has completely changed that and turned communication channels on their head. Second, authenticity. It is better to be true then right. Disingenuousness is becoming the worst branding liability. And yet, conversely, the marketplace is becoming more tolerant of mistakes.  In fact, an honest mistake can even reinforce the credibility of your brand. (e.g. JetBlue’s admission of fault during the canceled flights fiasco). Politics isn’t known for being a source of marketing innovation but in this election, corporate marketers are getting a taste of what’s to come.

April 29, 2008 | Permalink


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