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What we learnt this week: David Cameron

David Cameron’s embarrassing string of semi-denial-cum-clarification statements regarding his family’s appetite for tax dodging should remind everyone in our industry (/the country) about the value of authenticity.

Many of us operate in environments where competitors offer extremely similar products and services. Brand – and the emotions, trust and value tied up therein – is the key point of differentiation.

If we claim, on behalf of our brand, a commitment to customer service, we better make sure we’re really helping. If we assure people they are opted out, it’s best they don’t receive more emails. And if we promise that we’ll pay all our taxes and not siphon cash off into hidden offshore pockets, well, we should at least try and stick to it.

The point is: if you ask people to trust you and you then betray that trust, you don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

The cut and thrust of business hasn’t always encouraged organisations to do the right thing. But the empowered buyers that rule the roost these days do seem to be forcing a shift. No one likes being taken for a ride.

This should be taken very seriously, because, unlike David Cameron, most brands are unlikely to get third, fourth and fifth bites at the cherry. Be honest, and you’ll probably find that people will like it.