Skip to main content

Marketing, Lies & The Culture Of Personal Truth

When I was eight and moved to Monsey, New York, I lived the lie that my family was ultra-Orthodox. But the other kids found out my mom wore pants and didn't cover her hair. And they made fun of me.

In sleep-away camp I lived the lie that I was as rich as the kids who paid o go there. But my mom was the camp nurse, my tuition was free, and my clothes gave away the secret. We weren't rich at all.

When I went to college I lived the lie that I at least kept the Sabbath. Then I spent a weekend at my friend Janima's house in Pennsylvania. Her dad drove us around town and it was fun. I returned to school on Sunday and when I spoke to my mother, she didn't like what she heard. I did not hear from her for awhile.

Lying to get by, to be accepted, to be loved. We suffer from the lies that were imposed on us. But we learn at the same time that masks are necessary.

In fact it is a social skill to lie. So why am I always amazed at how smoothly people do it? Why am I shocked by the pathological ease with which some people bend, stretch and snap the truth?

I know what it is that bothers me. Not the  fact that people lie to survive. What's disturbing is when a person stops realizing the difference between true and false.

That is the problem with marketing, isn't it? In the past, wherever you stood on that line between truth and falsehood, reality stood with certainty somewhere.

In marketing the truth is what you make of it. The integrity comes from achieving a different kind of truth - "it feels real to me." "It's authentic."

It's hard to say whether we are better off now than in the past. In a sense I think we are, because everyone has the recognized right to live their truth. But in another way we are truly messed up in our heads. Because when you legitimize "my truth" versus "your truth," "his" and "hers," what you end up with is a group that cannot have a real dialogue. 

At some point there is conflict between what I believe and what you believe. The solution cannot always be retreating to our corners. Yet we should not fight it out until death or dominance either.

The third way, one that takes a lot of maturity, is to engage in the tough discussions. Maybe we can live and let live while also acknowledging some central truth or reality.

Without that agreement that fact does exist, we can never tell the truth really. Because what we say is always just a matter of opinion, or biased propaganda.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …