Two of her friends, we’ll call them Tammy and Arthur had her in a quandary. Arthur told my daughter a story about something that happened during the lunch period involving him, Tammy and another girl, Cathy. When my daughter asked Tammy about the situation, she told a completely different tale. In fact, she said the incident never happened at all.
So naturally, my daughter came home, wondering who was telling the truth. We talked a little about perception versus reality but let’s face it, the incident either happened or it didn’t.
Then, out of the mouth of my 13 year old, came some sage marketing advice. She said, "Well, since I don’t know if what they said was the truth, I’ll pay attention to how they behave."
Tammy has a checkered past when it comes to telling the truth. Arthur on the other hand, has always proved to be a man of his word. Case closed. While she agreed that Arthur could certainly be exaggerating the truth, in the end she believed that the incident did occur.
Don’t disregard this as a middle school drama. There’s a very loud and clear message in there for anyone who’s crafting marketing messages.
All Talk Tammy: Your words are meaningless if you don’t live up to them. If you’re an All Talk Tammy, your consumers will ferret that out. Actions will always win out over pretty words. Especially if there is a pattern of inconsistency.
And when Catalyst Cathy comes along and creates a crisis (whistle blower, product recall, employee strike, bad customer service experience, etc) then you’ve got real trouble.
Authentic Arthur: When you’ve earned a reputation for being authentic, it is like having a full bank account. If you have trouble (see Catalyst Cathy’s list above) you can afford to make a withdrawal sand still have a little left over. Of course, that depends on you remaining authentic.
Here’s an interesting question. How many marketers out there THINK that they’re Arthur in this story, but their consumers know them to be a Tammy?