Get Real!

In the last 30 days, every time I open a publication I seem
to see a reference to the trend toward “authenticity.” It is one of Adweek’s “Six Trends You Should Know” with Dove’s advertising
campaign as a key example. In a Wall
Street Journ
al’s commentary, “The Authenticity Thing,”
Daniel Henninger queried, “Who’d have thought that the presidential accessory
that would prove most popular in this election would be authenticity?” In the most recent issue of Marketing Management, the cover story is “Keep it Real: Learn to
understand, manage and excel at rendering authenticity

We don’t think this is a new trend. What we’ve consistently seen
over the years is the critical importance of establishing third-party
credibility or “authenticity,” especially when launching a new product. In
general, people don’t trust what you say about yourself. In the “2008 Edelman
Trust Barometer
” report,
corporate or product advertising was ranked near the bottom of credible sources
of information.

So, if you want to be authentic, who does your audience
trust? According to the Edelman report, the most trusted spokespeople are peers
(“a person like yourself”), financial and industry analysts, and academics.
Least credible sources were bloggers and company CEOs. 

Among sources of information, articles in business
magazines, stock or industry analyst reports, television news coverage,
articles in newspapers and conversations with your friends and peers rose to
the top as most credible. Least credible were blogs, social networking sites,
and web-based video-sharing sites.

Based on all of this, we recommend that you spend your time
cultivating those that can really make an impact:

  • key opinion leaders with characteristics similar to your target audience
  • top analysts that focus on your industry
  • major academic professionals working in your product’s field
  • journalists that cover your product’s category at key publications

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