fake news in business

Communicating in a post-truth environment

In November 2016, The BBC reported: “Oxford Dictionaries has declared "post-truth" as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a "highly-charged" political 12 months.” The term is defined as “An adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”

President Trump’s highly successful election campaign was certainly emotionally charged and has been criticised as being manipulative with facts. In a recent article in Marketing Week, Mark Ritson explains how brands have reacted to these tactics.

“The approaches range in both tenor and impact. On one end of the extreme are brands like Dove, which gently mocked Trump and his team’s invention of “alternative facts” with a campaign in which Dove makes a series of unsubstantiated and fanciful claims about its antiperspirant (it increases your IQ, first used by Cleopatra – you get the idea).”

This gently humorous way of promoting this particular product to consumer markets is ingenious but it wouldn’t work as a general rule. The strongest weapons for dealing with the post-truth environment are openness, honesty and factual accuracy.

Securing positive perceptions

In the BBI Brandboost web page about Managed Hosting we explain that:

  • The solutions we offer are fully resilient with multiple layers of redundancy to ensure that your content is safe
  • Secure firewall protection is backed up by consistent monitoring for viruses and other hazards

Similar principles are reflected in the means by which businesses can protect target audience perceptions of their products, services and reputation. These include:

  • Ensuring that information and messages communicated online and through social and other channels are not open to misinterpretation and can be substantiated in multiple ways (some of which you may not decide to use but to keep in reserve if needed)
  • Monitoring channels of communication for both positive and negative comment, meeting both genuine and malicious reports and reviews with timely, measured and substantiated responses consistent with your corporate style and ethos
  • Maintaining an open and constructive flow of content and communications to build a supporting firewall of positive perceptions to counter adverse commentary

As experienced online communications and marketing specialists, the BBI Brandboost team is equally at home with:

  • Designing, building and hosting exceptional websites and…
  • Devising, planning and implementing robust and dynamic marketing and communication campaigns.

Contact us on 01494 452600 to discuss strategies that will make your business shine as a beacon of accuracy and reliability in today’s murky post-truth environment.