Brands can take advantage of concerns about fake news by delivering high-quality, truthful and relevant content to consumers, according to a new study by Origin and Hill Holliday. It notes that marketers can differentiate themselves from competitors by ensuring that they always publish content that is authentic and can be trusted.
Fake news has been particularly pervasive during the last 12 months, with several high-profile incidents in the run-up to the US Presidential Election late last year. Consumers are concerned by its rise as well as that of other fake applications, products, customer service chat bots and social media accounts, which make them wary when consuming content online.
“Consumers have been confronted by fake news, fake online reviews, fake phishing emails, fake applications that install malware, fake accounts on social media platform – and the list goes on,” consumer psychologist Kenneth Faro, Ph.D., said. “There’s one big learning here, and it’s the fact that we are seeing the emergence of a new consumer need – the need for truth.”
Rather than seeing the emerging fake economy as a threat or challenge, Faro believes that it is an opportunity for brands to show that they can be a bastion of truth and integrity. When asked about the brand attribute that is most critical when purchasing a product or service, 44 per cent of the Origin/Hill Holiday survey respondents chose quality, while truth (14 per cent), authenticity (13 per cent) and transparency (eight per cent) also featured in to the top five.
It is clear that consumers are eager to see these attributes in the brands that they engage and interact with on online platforms. The consequences of publishing fake content are also apparent, as 59 per cent of the respondents said that they would stop shopping with a brand if it did so. More than a third would unfollow on social media, and 30 per cent would delete the brand’s app.
Four in ten people are now double-checking sources before believing what they read in a blog or article, and brands that show that they can be trusted are able to drive customer loyalty and retention. Faro added: “Valuing ‘truth’ can be a differentiating brand platform and a point of view that brands can stand for and rally consumers around.”