...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A truth about truth

It was in my second job, as an editor of a company publication for a large insurance company, that I first learned the power of truth. And what people will do to avoid it.

I was writing a typical article about a committee's marketing planning efforts. I asked what the team was doing, who was on the team and when they expected to finish the work, and I got a blank stare from the manager who was my source. She said she didn't want to put a date out there because the team might held accountable to that date.

That's when I first learned the truth about truth: it's a moving target.

And I think that's why so many brands are so bland. Company's say one thing and act entirely different. There's no accountability to the brand.

And sometimes, there's not even a good attempt at being truthful. I was also the editor of a safety magazine for the insurance company, so I got to write articles about propane explosions, vehicle accidents, grain elevator accidents and other things that drive the cost of agribusiness insurance through the roof. On one particular site, the grain elevator manager told me to get on the manlift to go look at the site of a fire at the top of the building, then squeezed himself alongside me, saying "the insurance company doesn't like it when we do this, but it'll be okay this one time." I didn't bother to remind him I WAS THE INSURANCE COMPANY!

It was clear from my vantage point that the marketing effort was never going to be successful and that operation was an accident waiting to happen. Or was it the other way around?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mark,

I think you're right. In some cases, companies purposefully allow the truth to be a moving target, based on how they want to manipulate their audiences.

But, more often than not -- the truth is a moving target because no one has done the due diligence of helping them actually discover their brand truth. You can not be true to what you don't know. If the management team can't articulate the brand promise, how in the world can we expect their employees to be?

They need professional help to actually find the truth. That's why you and I have jobs, my friend!


12:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems a bit odd to post to a blog about helping people discover their truth and then thanks to user error -- accidentally post it anonymously!!

Let's see if my 2nd attempt works a little better.



12:06 AM

Blogger Mark True said...

You're absolutely right, Drew. They don't want to know the truth because it might limit them....limit them to certain niches, certain geographic areas, certain products. It might force them to make courageous decisions!

2:03 PM


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