A lot of mileage is made by folks justifying social media marketing spend that it humanises a brand or makes it easier for consumers to engage with the brand.

Brand in de Herenstraat Rijswijk (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (marche vers Pâques ))

Some of this is bunkum.

But the ability of the internet (not just social) to enable a better or more honest appraisal of a brand is proven. Will your brand be destroyed by social media?

Authenticity is becoming a valued commodity and brands that are super-honest in the information they share with their customers will build stronger relationships which drive long-term profit.

I first came across this phenomenon by reading Dan Ariely‘s Predictably Irrational in which he asks what you’d think of a bank whose credit card service allowed you to set a monthly budget and then automatically alerted you when you were about to go over your budget. It’s that sort of honesty that enables us to feel more in control and to let the bank still profit, but only do it to the extent that we are comfortable.

Dan’s just blogged about a bank that tried to do this in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster – they accepted promissory IOUs instead of cheques, allowing disaster-struck customers to draw cash without proof of identity or a bank card and as a result subsequently increased their assets under management by $1.4Bn. People thought Hancock Bank of Mississippi were doing the right thing and moved their business across.

The little things do count.

Should brands advertise their ‘good deeds’?

So you give your staff license to help out, but as a marketer, surely your instinct is to then publicise that fact. If you want your business or brand to start to leverage this effect, are there right and wrong ways to do it?

  • Will publicity negate the positive consumer sentiment effect of the good deed?
  • Can you plan for these ‘good deed’ happenings?
  • Should we re-think our products and services to include more honesty?

Please suggest ways Creative Agency Secrets can do the right thing for you – what do you want that we could give you?