To say we are now knee-deep in uncharted territory is an understatement beyond comprehension and understanding. Life as we now know it is life as we never could have possibly ever imagined it. And as we all contemplate our current state of being, there's an unspoken truth we all feel so deeply that it can best be summed up with one simple truth: there is absolutely nothing normal about the so-called "new normal". And the prospect of what this new normal ultimately means to all of us, both at present and in the foreseeable future is something not a soul can predict with any reliable degree of certainty.
For days, I've wrestled with this new worldwide reality and I've just now begun to pause and take a look around – both figuratively and literally to see what remains of what used to be. Marketers, politicians, healthcare professionals, families – we're all at a loss and at a loss for words as we begin to think about what the next day will hold, let alone the next week, month or year. It's as if we are now all true-to-life characters living in a dystopian reality so hard to fathom that if it were depicted in a Hollywood blockbuster it would be regarded as too over-the-top for anyone to take as anything more than garden variety popcorn fare. Upon reflection, the one thing I do know to be true, perhaps now more than ever, is that people are hungry for and need truth and authenticity in their lives, in all aspects of their lives and yes – this need for authenticity extends to the brands they trust and love.
Right now, it's all too easy to manipulate people for a quick buck. With just a few clicks of a mouse, brands can create marketing campaigns that, fueled by images in their customer's heads of empty store shelves – pits them in battles of every man for himself. All with no consideration or regard for common human decency towards others. And why wouldn't they? It's the easy way to hit profit margins. It's the all too present common denominator – the low hanging fruit ripe to be picked. It's smart business to play off people's tender emotions in times where tensions run high and uncertainty runs deep in the zeitgeist. It's all in a day's work, right?
Wrong. This opportunistic new business model isn't sustainable and it will only work in the short term. Doing business in this manner is the epitome of not being true to your brand. Authenticity is the way, the truth and the light that leads to long term success in this, our new normal. So instead of taking advantage of your customer's weaknesses and preying upon their fears, why not take the high road and get back to the true essence of your brand and its roots? After all, it's this authenticity that drove you to build your brand into what it became in the first place not so long ago.
And you mark my word, authenticity is what will see it thrive today and tomorrow.
Think about that as you conceive, produce and unleash the content created on your behalf out into the world. Take time and really think long and hard about what it says about you and your brand. Be sure it's content your audience really wants and more importantly that it's content they need – especially now. Whatever this happens to be, in whatever form it takes, always remember – leading with authenticity will always be the secret to your success – both now and well into the future.