You’ve likely heard the Latin phrase Caveat emptor – buyer beware. Good advice. This was the consumer mantra of the last century – the best line of defense for the average citizen in the mass marketed, mass produced world.
The world has changed. Now the consumer is empowered to speak, search, and publicly communicate. Today it is also the seller who must beware. People all around the world are connected, and people love to talk. Welcome to the world of Caveat venditor.
If you own, operate, or market a business, you had better operate with integrity and honesty. Be honest about the projects you have completed and the results they delivered. Be honest about the number of employees you have and the skills they possess. Be honest about your pricing and customer service philosophy. Even more, be honest about your mistakes. Nobody expects you to be perfect, but people now expect and demand you to be honest and respectful.
Thanks to the web, people have options. People have information. People talk. Today those people can speak to everyone on the planet through blogs, review sites, and social media channels. Those same conversations are easily aggregated and discovered through online search. Deceive people, ignore people, lie to people, cheat people and you do so at your own peril. Caveat venditor.
Marketers are experts at creating images for brands. We tell stories. Stories that resonate with the consumer and match the consumer experience, tend to be successful in helping companies grow. Stories that are fabricated, false, and misleading, will quickly position a brand as dishonest, uncaring, and unable to be trusted. Brands used to be able to try to overcome this by buying enough advertising to drown out the complainers. The world has changed. People are now in charge. As you construct the story of your brand, be mindful of this change. Understand that the way you sell can have major consequences.