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Authenticity Digital Marketing Donald Trump

Get off the brandwagon: Why advertisers should transcend the culture of the moment

By Chris Jefford, founding partner

May 12, 2016 | 3 min read

Another excellent listen on the way to work today from This American Life. In amongst a whole bunch of fascinatingness was a soundbite from an ultra-conservative Christian broadcaster, in which he was discussing the choice now facing Republicans with Donald Trump looking like a shoe-in for the presidential nomination.

chris jefford hometown london

chris jefford hometown london

"My beliefs run deeper than the culture of the moment."

What a great line.

Does he just 'go with it', vote for this guy? Seven out of 10 Republicans seem to be, so maybe he should too.

Screw it.

Or are his beliefs more important that the current wave of opinion?

The culture of the moment.

So important today.

In a world where the small can take the shape of the very big, very quickly, it is more important than ever to be clear on what we believe in and stand by it.

Not to be heartless, but the outpouring of grief over the passing of a Prince or a Bowie amongst people who would struggle to name a handful of songs is a case in point.

We're often driven by social-surges, a herd-mentality that bend and form a new set of beliefs out of a given situation.

And often that change of heart is born out of opportunism. There is a chance to get a slice of this, to build social capital out of a situation.

Brands do it all the time.

Hook into this, appropriate that.

And that's fine, if it chimes with what you really believe.

Otherwise people suss you out pretty quickly.

See through you, see you for what you really are.

A chancer. An opportunist. A Trump.

Successful brands, really successful for the long-term, know what they stand for and act accordingly. They have a north star that guides them, their principles, their hiring policies, their product development, their marketing strategies, their messages, their alliances.

How?

They go back to basics, remind themselves of what brought them into the world in the first place. What was their purpose, why do they exist?

Who are they here to serve, and what impact are they looking to leave behind?

And then they stick to it.

Don't stick a trap-track on your ad if you don't believe in the power of youth culture to change the world, and you're not going to back it.

Don't use the latest celebrity to front your campaign if they don't share your values.

Do think carefully before adopting the 'culture of the moment', because consumers will see though you if you're suddenly whistling to an inauthentic tune.

And they will take you down.

Chris Jefford is founding partner of Hometown London

Authenticity Digital Marketing Donald Trump

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