ARE WE SELLING OUR SOULS TO THE DEVIL?
The term “authenticity” is bandied about pretty liberally these days. Everyone wants to be authentic—oil companies, tobacco companies, power-hungry dictators, even toothpaste manufacturers. It’s a free-for-all that would make sense if the companies and individuals doing the authentication were in any way honest, upfront, direct, and real. In addition, I’m not sure it’s necessarily a fait accompli that our customers are anywhere as honest as we purport them to be. Beating the system is often the name of the game.
The million- (even billion-) dollar question is: What happens if customers are rewarded for promoting word-of-mouth on behalf of the brand? Are they going to make recommendations just for the hell of it—or specifically, just because they’re getting compensated? Are they going to recommend products, goods, or services that they don’t necessarily believe in merely because they’re getting something back in return—and in doing so dispense bad intelligence to their personal or professional networks?
And we’re back talking about trust again—mixed in with a healthy dose of integrity, ethics and common sense. It’s a proverbial minefield to be sure, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t successfully navigate it with the right tools, roadmap and process.
It’s perplexing to me to see the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wallowing around in such a nascent space when, to date, there are so many bigger issues being willfully ignored in the process. ...