Trust and Authenticity – The New Media Marketing Currencies

Oct 13, 2008

Trust and Authenticity – The New Media Marketing Currencies

A lot is written about various marketing strategies and tactics in the new media world. But very little is written about the foundations of marketing in the new media world. Perhaps because it’s new and everyone is so busy figuring out new rules of the game, there is not enough knowledge built at the foundation level. This post is an attempt to contribute to the foundational principles.

Where do we turn to build foundation? Remember, we are all people at the end of the day. A new media can appear every other year, but people’s motivations have changed very slowly over centuries. Need proof? Read the timeless marketing classic Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins written first in 1930s. As documented by him, people needs and desires have been consistent for a long time, independent of the arrival and demise of several media.

What is the new currency for a successful transaction in the new media world? It’s trust and its close cousin, authenticity. As the choices for products multiply with the corresponding exponential increase in marketing messages, people ironically tend to crave for a simpler world, where deciding between choices is easy. Such a simpler world is driven by the basic principles we go back as humans – buy from trusted names or buy based on recommendations from trusted sources.

The whole area of brand marketing serves the purpose of building trusted names. The function of trusted recommendations is served most effectively by word of mouth. The emergence of social networks is a true boon to accelerate word of mouth at a global level while narrowing it down to more and more specialization.
A critical ingredient of building and maintaining trust in the new media world is, authenticity. As documented by James Gilmore and Joseph Pine II in their excellent book Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want consumers crave for “real” when it seems like almost everything around them is hyped and not real. Word of mouth from trusted sources has the additional advantage of being authentic most of the time, since that is a critical requirement for the source to continue to maintain that trust with their listeners.

Our company, Affinity Answers was founded to actualize these principles. We use social networks as the main medium for research and marketing, since they enable word of mouth better than any other new (and old) media.

While social networks have the potential to be true purveyors of trust and authenticity, they are nowhere near their potential in their current forms. I do predict that it will be an eventuality for these networks, at least the ones that will thrive. Much of the implementation of principles will come from the networks themselves, but a significant contribution will be made by 3rd parties such as us. We are proud of our contribution by matching consumer’s interests with relevant products and services, creating a fulfilling experience for both buyers and sellers, while adding more value for members in each of the social networks.

Related Posts

Case Study:
TV & Entertainment

Driving A W K W A F I N A to #1 Using TrueAffinity Data Graph, Comedy Central was able to construct a comprehensive media plan based on the behavioral data of close fans and viewers. By reviewing and discovering...

Case Study:

Performance Case Study Problem Statement In the evolving landscape where third-party cookie based campaign targeting wanes, cookieless targeting options are being sought out by brands and agencies but not all solutions are equal when it comes to their effectiveness. The...

Case Study:

Finding and Driving New Users for Dunkin' With the holiday season in full swing, a top gaming console wanted to do everything it could to steal market share from it's main competitor-Playstation. Affinity Answers created a segment to target people...