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The New Hype: the Unvarnished Truth

By None:

As Americans get more and more over-mediated, over-hyped, and over-marketed, there's one form of communications that seems to be gaining traction. That's right: telling the truth.

Rather than suggesting that your organization is going to "save the world" - tell the truth and describe your mission in realistic terms. "Our goal is to remake this corner of our city, and make it a vibrant and livable community."

Over on his excellent (though sparse) blog, Rich Edelman - president of Edelman PR - puts it in corporate terms here:

Business should embrace the "paradox of transparency" (term coined by Shell public affairs executives). Rather than hold back knowledge of a product's benefits and risks, be open with your stakeholders, engage them in conversation and allow them to contribute to the solution. Sure, there is risk of competitive response but is that worse than the consumer outcry that can undermine the eventual acceptance of a product concept?

The days of buying consumer approval simply through mass advertising are over. Today the runway for successful brand take off is effective public relations, which provides the strong base of credibility on which advertising can build. The average person like me is demanding a seat at the table, the true democratization of the purchasing process. Smart companies will recognize that ceding control is a central aspect in earning trust.

It's sort of like one political candidate I know: The atmospheric message underpinning his campaign communications? "He's a jerk. Fighting for you." Now that's unvarnished truth.