At the Pitch CMO Summit held last week in Mumbai, Kamal Basu, Marketing & PR Head, Volkswagen India, spoke about how to maintain transparency in an age where herd selling is the norm. “Selling is not an easy job”, he begins, “As a marketer, we are responsible for every bit of communication that comes out of our brand.”
Honesty brings lifelong customers rather than one-off sales, according to Basu. “We see this across categories so let this be an inherent part of your brand strategy because small things like these will actually build on things that you do to build trust,” he said.
Basu advised the audience about being consistent. According to him, the main thing is to be consistent in authenticity. “Honesty comes easily when you are confident about your product. Be passionate about being authentic,” he said. According to him, when a brand comes out in the open and talks about its problems and faults, it helps the audience bear the inconvenience a little better.
Consumers appreciate advertising that is refreshing and explicitly honest with them, he said, further stating that brands should build trust by stopping pushing products onto people—they should start to care about people instead. Taking the example of advertisements by HDFC Life Insurance and Hero Motors, he advised brands to look at real, relatable, and honest communication. To highlight this, Basu gave the example of the Dove campaign (Dove Real Beauty Sketches). “Turn small, honest storytelling opportunities into big conversation starters,” he commented.
Speaking about consumer trust, one of the things Basu maintained was that lack of transparency can bring consumer trust crashing down. “Honesty and truthfulness pays rich dividends,” he concluded.