This morning I was scrolling through Facebook and an ad come up. It showed a lovely looking couple kissing on a beautiful street. A great movie ending type scene. And the text was compelling too talking about how by using this certain dating service you too could find your partner for life. Clearly this client was very happy with this dating service.
With it being compelling they must be making a ton of sales, right?
Actually not. I suspect they are losing a lot of sales. Why do I say this? Because after looking at the photo and the text I was compelled to look further into the ad (for more on why more relationships need to end sooner see my prior article).
So I did what any good reader would do. I went to the comments. And they were interesting.
First, the woman in love claimed to be from New York City but the picture of her and her beloved appeared to be in LA. The commenters noted this.
Another commenter noted how perfect the couple looked and questioned whether they were models.
To add insult to injury people were “liking” the comments about the authenticity of the ads. Meaning that a lot of other people probably had the same questions on the ad but didn’t have the nerve, or energy, to add a comment.
And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen to an internet ad. People love to cherry-pick ads and messages apart looking for themes of fakeness.
It seems that in the era of fake news and fake people (see my prior article on authenticity in light of society’s pressure) that the bar is higher. We need to be more authentic than ever if we are going to build trust with our audience of followers and potential customers.
There’s a Lot of Mistrust
The current business, and social, environment lacks trust. A lot of people have seen fake news stories to only find out later that the truth and be disappointed that they were mislead. Meanwhile I think we’ve all be victims of businesses that have promised too much.
“If you just buy this program (or product) you’ll get these amazing results” the pitch goes. Being the leary consumers we are we look for testimonials and other proof. After we see them we buy and later find out we were duped, again. It’s one of the reasons the Federal Trade Commission in the United States puts so much attention into ads, testimonials and endorsements. They know they can sway decisions and be misused.
Everyone is on guard. Everyone is looking to determine whether this product or service actually does what is promised or whether it is yet another one not living up to its claims.
And the company running the Facebook ad will learn this quickly if they review the comments they’ve received. The commenters are starting from a place of not trusting what they see. They are looking for flaws because, perhaps, someone that actually has actions that matches their words might be worth doing business with.
The Small Things Matter
And we can see it’s the small things in this ad that really set people off. There was no discussion I saw about whether the dating service was good or bad. No comment I saw made it to that point.
All of the commenters I saw got distracted on the small stuff. Was the photo in the location they said it was? Was it a real couple?
You can see the mistrust being expressed by looking for small inconsistencies. Sure, the woman writing the testimonial was from one city and the photo of the couple appeared to be in a different city. Maybe the happy couple was on a trip?
And, yes, the couple looked very polished. Maybe the dating company paid for their real clients to get some amazing outfits paired with make-up and lighting for this photo shoot?
The ad could have been very real. There were plausible explanations for what the viewer was seeing. But, and it’s a big “but”, the commenters didn’t care. They were turned off to the service like a light switch because they say small things they didn’t see as true.
And I see this in other cases too. Our consumers are getting smarter and more and more consumers want complete consistency.
Whether we are advertising, or creating marketing, or speaking one-on-one to our customers we must challenge ourselves to get the small things right. They matter more than we know.
Without the Small Starts There Are No Big Finishes
Why do these small things matter so much? Because without the small starts there are no big finishes. This dating company clearly put a lot of money into this ad – at least I assume so based on the quality of the photo I saw (there was clearly a lot of prep and staging).
And because they had some inconsistencies they had a problem. Clearly many of the commenters aren’t feeling compelled to click the “Apply Today” button to get started with this dating company.
Rather than applying to be customers viewers are posting comments online questioning the company – presumably to warn others to steer clear. Don’t walk, run from this dating company that uses models and misrepresents the city that their clients live in.
And because there are less clicks of the “apply today” button there are less customers. Less customers means less sales. And let’s follow-on referrals.
Quite simply if we lose the batter of authenticity early there is no coming back. Authenticity is kinda like that first love – once it’s over, it’s over.
What We Can Consider Doing
So what lessons are out there for us? For those of us that still want to do business and build relationships in this world where authenticity is questioned more and the bar of authenticity is much higher.
We need to raise our own standards. We need to be consistent between our business and our lives and what we are saying. We need to make sure our photos are real and consistent. We need to portray who we are.
We must resist the temptation to be too perfect. We must show the warts and the imperfections. Our customers know they are perfect and they know we aren’t too.
We must keep pulling away the layers society has given us – and be more real.
Real means sales. Real means dates. Real means clients. Real means results.
Just being real with you.
By: The Our Shawn McBride who is constantly studying the Future of Business as the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
One of my recurring themes on Medium.com is looking at what words mean. Here are some prior articles on the subject:
And for some completely different topic from me check out Why I’ve Given Up On Work-Life Balance.
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