Photo by Caminando de Suiza

I’m a wee bit frustrated at the advertising and marketing world at the moment. Everywhere you go you hear sermons about being authentic and having integrity. I’m a strong proponent for these two things, and I’m rather irritated by those who simply are not practicing what they preach.

Now granted from time to time, we all screw up. I’ve found myself not acting in accordance with advice I’ve given others. It happens. We’re human. But once we realize what we are doing, we have to make better choices.

If you are an entrepreneur, small business, or non-profit please pay attention. If I’m thinking these things, most likely your target is too. If you have a brand, or are preparing to launch a brand, I want you to ask yourself something:

Am I full of shit?

Sounds a bit harsh maybe, but ask it anyway. What’s your first reaction? Yes? No? I’m not sure? In marketing, we talk a lot about something called, “Reasons to Believe.” Simply put, these are the reasons why anyone, especially your target, should believe anything you have to say. Often Reasons To Believe include information on your brand’s ingredients or features, heritage, benefits, affinity and so forth. This is all well and good but we marketers, creatives, account people, and strategists (yep myself included) have forgotten to ask a major question.  

Are our brands (or the brands we work for) walking the walk? If not, we’d better stop using the word authentic right now. {Tweet it!}

I’m flabbergasted every time I look at a “social media” agency that hasn’t updated their social media in several months. Or the agencies that claim to be “digital” but have websites that look like there were designed 10 years ago. Or the healthcare and beauty brands that maintain they are good for you even though their products include carcinogens and other hazardous ingredients. It’s unclear why these companies aren’t being called out more often, but it doesn’t really matter. The point is not to make the same mistakes they are making.

If nothing else just ask yourself the question from time to time, Am I Full of  Shit? And if the answer is yes, step up and force yourself to take actions to change that until you can say with 100% authority, I am not a phony. I am walking the walk.