AMiable Solution #411: Integrity
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
As we honor and remember the military personnel who have died while serving in the armed forces, one word keeps coming to mind: integrity.
I’ve never been in the military, but I know people who have. I know that the standards and the bars are set high for those who serve. I know the risks are great and the consequences are severe—even fatal—but pride in doing the job well is undeniable and the results of their efforts are unequal.
Most of us don’t have such heavy loads to carry at work, but we all do have serious responsibilities. We have obligations to our co-workers, our employers, our communities, our clients, and our families. And we can’t meet any of them without hard work. Without integrity.
Organizations and companies that stretch the truth in their advertising, or even worse—outright lie—put more on the line than a sale. Without truth, without integrity, there’s no trust. Without trust, there are no sales.
There are many reasons companies pursue the dark and dirty road—pressure to compete, lack of training, or simply lack of conscience—but there are also many reasons to choose to speak truth in marketing. Most of them include dollar signs: people don’t repeatedly buy from companies they don’t trust.
Lynn Upshaw put it this way in her July 30, 2007, article, “Integrity in Marketing Is Not Optional,” for Ad Age: “In a world where buyers are continuously in touch with other buyers and claims are publicly deconstructed by anyone and everyone, marketers' toughest job may be to simply convince buyers that they speak the truth. In such a world, marketing integrity is not just a virtue; it is a driver of choice.”
To ensure integrity in your marketing, you must first make sure it comes from the top. Leadership and top management must believe in truly helping people solve problems and presenting solutions to them in direct, honest ways. They must set the bar and the expectations high and communicate those standards throughout the company.
Second, you must use evidence. If you make a claim in your marketing, back it up with proof! Be prepared to share testimonials, industry reviews, test results, or whatever the case may be. Just be sure what you’re saying is based on fact, not fiction.
Finally, be transparent. Be honest about what your company, product, or service can or cannot do. Smoke and mirrors may work in a carnival, but they don’t belong in your marketing. Speak the truth, earn the trust, and live a long and happy marketing life. With integrity.