The one-sentence summary

In an age of information overload, the most effective way for a brand to stand out is to tell the truth.


  • In an age of information overload, the most effective way for a brand to stand out is to tell the truth. Marketing with honesty is the only strategy that truly works, because customers stay more loyal.
  • Equally, the absence of truth could be the death of a brand.
  • With regard to content, brands need to:
  1. Acknowledge reality (there are 5 ways to do this: forceful, functional, funny, fair, forecasted)
  2. Deliver real change to services and company structure (any claimed truth must be matched in reality)
  3. Take consumers on the brand truth journey with you (allow them to participate and create communities)
  4. Enlist third-party advocates (identify and nurture your natural fans and those you can win round: look at employees, cynics, advocates, critics, and agnostics)
  • With regard to context, brands should:
  1. Be close (tailor all communications to be locally relevant: propinquity is nearness in place or time)
  2. Find a Truth Turning Point (identify and orchestrate surprise moments when telling the truth would make a real difference: this can include ignoring the script, breaking the format, exceeding the platform, expanding the brief, ‘being’ the quote, or interrupting a journey)
  3. Use point-of-action media (communicate when the consumer is most open to hearing from you)
  4. Leverage routine (what are your customers’ regular routines and where does the brand fit in it?)


  • Make your brand a relentless source of factual data, let people disagree, and actively encourage debate. That means communicating clearly, creatively, and collaboratively.
  • Tell stories with punch lines, have a single use, do one thing well, offer a clear improvement, fix something, and say it simply.
  • The content is the message, depending on the context.
  • Locality can be as diverse as physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, or experiential.
  • All of us live in ‘an endless narrative of moments’.
  • The Guardian defines the truth as engagement with purpose, vetting of facts, and qualified participation.
  • Amusingly, the top British traits are talking about the weather, queuing and sarcasm.


  • The research quoted is probably valid but no particular methodology is explained to back it up – a biography of sources would have helped here.