With Donald Trump yelling “fake news” every time he sees a story he doesn’t like, brands that support media with sponsorships and advertising are at risk of being labeled inauthentic and untrustworthy.
Unilever's Keith Weed, Giant Spoon's Laura Correnti, and Kantar's Nick Nyhan joined Vice's Spencer Baim during NYC's Advertising Week Thursday to discuss what this means for brands as they plan advertising strategies in a "post-truth" world.
Data is always a proxy for the truth, says Nyhan. However, different data sets say different things. "There is not one truth," he says. Sometimes, what people say and what they do are at odds, which increases reliance on behavioral data, he added.
Unilever is increasingly using social listening to learn about consumer behavior, says Weed. With formal surveys, he notes, people often respond to questions with answers that are not accurate or even untruthful for any number of reasons. Social listening, by comparison, enables marketers to eavesdrop on conversations in which true sentiments are expressed.
Correnti says trustworthiness comes from internal culture. If a company posts its mission statement proudly and internalizes doing the right thing, that will resonate with consumers.
Advocacy lines up with brand affinity and trustworthiness. Kantar reports that over the last 12 years, the brands where people could identify a defined purpose grew three times faster than others, says Nyhan.
There is no perfect truth. Kantar's research on polling in light of Brexit and the U.S. presidential election revealed that only two or three surveys out of 100 are inaccurate. This post-truth means 97% of polls are indeed accurate. We can't throw the whole industry out because of two bad reports, he says.
Ultimately, the solution involves "multiple truths." My truth can be echoed in chamber and screened out of your chamber, says Nyhan. "We can't just be talking to ourselves."