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TIP: Marketing: Honesty is the Best Policy

Marketing: Honesty is the Best Policy

By Karen Vujnovic, Manta Staff Writer – January 22, 2016

Marketing: Honesty is the Best Policy

Certain types of customers are drawn to marketing that conveys messages of handcrafted, organic or authentic products and services. Those feel-good buzzwords draw in folks like genuine flies to all-natural honey. So if your marketing presents your company as homespun or community-focused—whether that means you’re using organic tomatoes in your artisan spaghetti sauce or you’re hand-dyeing yarn for homemade socks—you better make sure what you say is what you’re doing.

Mast Brothers, a small business in Brooklyn, New York, has been accused of not being exactly what they claimed and they’re paying the price in bad press. The chocolatiers are said to have concocted a story about handcrafting their bean-to-bar chocolate through a grueling process to create the world’s best chocolate. Their claim is strongly debated but the brothers stick by their story—for the most part, anyway. But many believe it was a marketing gimmick shared with the world at just the right time.

A little hyperbole may not seem like a big deal in marketing—consider the snake oil salesmen from a bygone era who stretched the truth to sell their potions. But today, when word travels at the speed of the Internet, exaggerated claims are quickly exposed. When dishonest marketing—or marketing thought to be dishonest—becomes public knowledge, it can be detrimental to business.

A few things to remember:

  • Having a story for your marketing is key—but don’t pretend it’s yours if it’s not.
  • Start with core values and what you believe in, not just what you think would make a great tale.
  • Be able to back up your beliefs with actions.

Whether you have had bad publicity or not, always be ready for it. One negative tweet about your business can turn the sweet taste of success into something more far more bitter. For tips on damage control, read more here.