How can tech brands build trust in the post-truth era

May 4, 2018


By Anu Ramani

Anu Ramani is a specialist in international B2B communications.

More articles from Anu Ramani

The post-truth economy has already become something of a cliché.  But its ramifications are not going away.  As a B2B tech marketer,  I have been thinking about what impact this will have for technology brands.

Just this week Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook has begun to rank news organisations by trust and that it will promote or suppress its content based on that metric. Whether this somewhat controversial move will encourage news organisations to focus on more balanced reporting remains to be seen.  However,  there is no doubt that we are all less and less likely to believe what we read.

The post-truth economy offers opportunities, as well as pitfalls, for the discerning B2B marketer.  Here are three ways to ensure your technology brand will thrive in a post-truth world:

  1. Respect your audience and offer content they will genuinely want to read

There is absolutely no merit in creating content that is full of marketing spiel or claims about your product or service.  What your audience will want to know is exactly what your offering entails, and how it can help them solve their pain points.  So think about their needs at each stage of the sales journey and give them content tailored to these needs.  Engage with technical content and department owners in your organisation and tease out those nuggets of information that will deliver genuine insight. Finally, if you are going to do research or a survey, before you start, ask yourself if someone has already done it better.  Take the time to discover genuinely new territory and you will be rewarded.

  1. Manage volume and velocity

It is tempting to produce content for the sake of it: the ‘let’s send out a weekly newsletter’ effect.  But a good content marketer will know how much meaningful, non-duplicated content your organisation can manage.  Quality is definitely better than quantity when it comes to content marketing.  And that goes for your word count too.  Be economical with your audience’s time;  avoid waffle and keep your collateral short and to the point.  (On an unrelated note: I was struck by the decision by Wetherspoons pubs to close all their social media accounts, as it wasn’t adding any value to their business)

  1. Know what your brand stands for

Many brands are jumping on the ‘sense of purpose’ bandwagon to ‘win back consumer trust’.  But this can easily backfire.  Far better to be honest about why you exist then claim a higher purpose that simply doesn’t ring true.  To my mind ‘sense of purpose’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘positioning entails sacrifice’.  Nobody can be all things to all people.  Pick a theme or technology that you can offer unique insight on. Then stick to them.  Create useful and meaningful content based on these themes.  This is the best way I know of creating long-term brand positioning and a win-win between you and the audience.

If you think your content strategy is ready for an overhaul, let’s meet for a coffee.

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