Is Your Message Authentic?

In my last blog post I shared a commercial for Ragu spaghetti sauce that featured a young boy walking in on his parents spending quality time in the bedroom. The spot is humorous, but one has to question how such a message advances the Ragu brand long term. Another commercial I saw recently had the opposite impact, in my estimation. A Wendy's commercial touted the "Wendy's Way," a commitment to serving quality products. The messenger was Wendy Thomas, daughter of Wendy's founder Dave Thomas and the restaurant's namesake.

The strength of this commercial is its authenticity. The message is a straightforward, heartfelt effort to communicate the brand's values. And, the message source evokes a favorable emotional response. Although Wendy Thomas does not have the same sense of ease in front of the camera as her late father, she is a capable brand ambassador that keeps alive the legacy created by Dave Thomas.

Brand messages should be authentic; they must communicate purpose and meaning to the audience. People do not buy products because they want them; they buy products because of what they do for them. Human nature leads us to ask the question "What's in it for me?" when considering a product purchase. Your brand messages should provide answers to that question. Wendy's answers the question by touting the quality customers receive.

What's in it for your customers to buy from you? Do your brand messages answer that question? Authenticity, not audacity, builds brands. People should think about your brand because they admire it, not because they laughed at your 30-second commercial.

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