Messaging is the last thing a StartUp should worry about.
People tell lies. Brands tell lies.
People have always been skeptical about marketing. Because they are skeptical about what people say.
Marketing was always about messaging. (Most of the brand models developed by big corporations are message focused.)
But how we market should reflect the reality of how people think.
And they think other people talk a lot of shite. And they know brands are run by people. Sometimes some of the more desperate, self-interested, self serving people.
So they think brands talk a lot of shite.
But people can see through that. Just like they can see through people’s lies.
The way we judge a person’s credibility is by their actions and by their overall personality.
We look them in their eye and think: given what I know of this person, and of people in general, does that stack up? We don’t over-think this: it’s intuitive and immediate. We think simply.
I knew a guy who patted everyone on the back and said how much he cared, how much he liked them. But other than talk, he never did anything to make their lives more bearable and he could have. In fact, he prevented it. Because it wasn’t in his interest.
It wasn’t a person, it was a brand, but I wanted to anthropomorphize it to make the point. That’s the worse type of brand.
There was a thug called Hitler who said: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
But he was wrong. He just bullied people into silence. But too much marketing seems to adhere to this idea.
I don’t buy all that old-fashioned orthodoxy about winning friends and influencing people. The snake oil salesman approach. But too much marketing does.
The StartUp advantage is the blank canvas. So be a modern brand. Define your brand by your company actions and personality. What you say will be authentic because the foundations are. It necessarily comes after you’ve got everything else right. Too many StartUps go straight to marketing. That might create temptations to be expedient, to be like the old marketers.
I’ll make a distinction with exaggeration and hype. They can be good. You are selling after all and you do need to present your case in the strongest light. That’s called advocacy. But fabrication is different. Having nothing to back it up is different.
Mark Twain said: “I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won’t.” It’s up to us. What kind of brands do we want to populate the world in the future?