“We’re real. We’re authentic. We’re cool – wait, I mean, we’re not cool. We’re just… real.”
Am I the only one who is tired of hearing how real everyone is? Maybe it’s because I’ve hit middle age and I’ve been marketed to all my life. Now that we’re in the post-modern-post-information-post-toasties generation, marketing no longer works and companies, churches, etc., have no choice but to be real – to actually provide the great service their advertising always said they did.
If I could eliminate two marketing strategies from now on, it would be green and real. Face it – if you haven’t jumped on the green bandwagon by now, you’re not going to. Personally, this one jumped the shark for me when the airline I worked for tried going green. Seriously? I thought, you burn jet fuel for a living! If you go green, you’re going to have to ground all your planes.
The “real” thing is starting to wear thin, too. We get it. You’re real. You’re really real. We’ll see.
Isn’t the “real” thing self-evident? Either you’re there when I need you or you’re not. If my insurance company I’ve paid faithfully for years without filing a claim suddenly finds a reason not to cover me when I have an accident or terminal illness or whatever, they’re not real. And no amount of marketing will convince my real friends, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and blog readers that they are. And God help them if I’m connected to a Seth Godin or Michael Hyatt or someone else with a massive social media platform. Businesses simply cannot continue to provide bad service and expect to stay in business.
If my church claims to be real and authentic, you can be darned sure I’ll find out if they are. Sooner or later, I’ll need a friend for something. If you’re not there then, you lose. I had an experience, years ago, when my car broke down and I had to get to work. Being a pretty active member of my church, I thought I’d call the church and see if there was anyone there on a weekday who could spare a half hour to give me a ride. The receptionist who answered told me everyone was at lunch – there was no one available. I later found out that one of the pastors, a friend of mine, was sitting in his office down the hall and gladly would have helped me had the receptionist bothered to come ask or even transfer the call to him. Thankfully, that wasn’t my only interaction with the staff there, but it sure was a missed opportunity to be real.
So, my point with this little rant is this: If you’re going to tell everyone how real and authentic you are, please be prepared to back it up. Otherwise, it’s time to fire your marketing department.