According to the Republicans - the entire government shutdown is President Obama's and the Democrats' fault. However, the Democrats claim the Republicans are holding the country hostage by insisting that "Obama Healthcare" be defunded before they will agree to a budget.
Meanwhile, the large food producers that are using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are saying they are perfectly safe while some scientists and millions of consumers claim they can cause a host of serious diseases and ailments. And then there are the "Fracking" proponents versus environmentalist; religious zealots who claim they are fighting against prosecution and injustice versus those that brand them as terrorists; truth-in-labeling proponents versus large food producers. And the debates go on and on.
And as marketers, let's not even discuss how many ads have promoted features and benefits that were later discovered to be false.
So where does all this back-and-forth with the "truth" leave consumers - our target audiences? Confused, angry, frustrated, disgusted, disappointed, suspicious and betrayed, are just a few words that come to mind. Although marketers have never ranked high on the "credibility meter", skepticism among our target audiences seems to be at an all-time high.
So the big question is: 'What are you doing about it'? Are you planning your messaging and MarCom strategies with the "truth factor" in mind, or are you proceeding as normal and assume the audience will figure out if it rings true? Many savvy marketers are putting much more of a focus on the social media elements of their MarCom campaigns as survey after survey has proven that many people put more trust in their peers' opinions than they do in any other form of communications.
To gain a more truthful perspective, some marketers are using "crowdsourcing" sites to get a consensus of opinions, while others are doing online peer surveys. Meanwhile, some marketers are turning to trustworthy spokespersons, such as noted industry experts in the B2B world or celebrities like Tom Hanks for B2C campaigns, while others are using real-life situations to take a 'story-telling' approach. And some are taking the humorous approach by asking people to share their feelings about how bad their product used to be - i.e. the Internet Explorer
But regardless what approach you use, we would highly recommend factoring 'credibility' into your MarCom strategies.