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The power of people not propaganda10/04/2012 | Follow Neil | Connect with Neil

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“People trust people, and after the 2008 banking crisis, they don’t trust organisations.” Philip Clarke, Tesco CEO, September 2012

I’m sure that this distrust of organisations started well before 2008, but the banking crisis and the phone hacking have made people realise that you can’t trust organisations – whether they are political parties or commercial enterprises. What they say is propaganda or even just basic bullshit.

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post about letting go of control, I think we marketers need to embrace that great marketing asset that we have – the people. I also think that we need to do more to show that we are people and that we have values – like honesty.

I think honesty really matters. I don’t mean saying ‘sorry’ when organisations get found out or screw up (as the current trend seems to be), I mean let’s open the doors and let people in. This way we establish trust. Let’s not hide behind brand guidelines or a well-polished spokesperson. Let’s speak in plain English, rather than trying to impress people with our ability to use a thesaurus. Let’s be clear, let’s be trustworthy, let’s be likeable, and let’s be human.

Can Tesco achieve this with their blog? I’m not sure. It was a good start by expressing a desire to let people see the personalities behind the brand, but it is still the management. I’d read a blog from Malcolm who stacks shelves on a Saturday in Cambridge. Let him talk about Tesco and what it is like to work there if you really want to show the people that we – the customers – come into contact with.

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