Most trends tend to sneak up on us quietly, gradually infiltrating our daily lives without fanfare. In my opinion, one trend in particular has been growing steadily over the last couple of years—being ‘flawsome’. After giving it an incredibly catchy name, Trendwatching.com recently declared it the global consumer trend to watch, explaining it as ‘why brands that behave more humanly, including showing their flaws, will be awesome.’
Apparently, ‘human’ brands that embrace their weaknesses and admit to mistakes are trusted far more by consumers than those who stand behind bland, boring and faceless corporations. It seems we want a connection with the brands we interact with and, like any relationship, need to feel as though they are being honest with us too.
According to a report by global PR company Weber Shandwick titled ‘The company behind the brand: In reputation we trust’, consumers believe that being transparent about who you are as a company matters more than ever today. Social researcher Dr. Brené Brown agrees. In her well-known TEDxHouston talk on authenticity in 2010, she advocated the need for vulnerability and transparency in business. ‘We just need you to be authentic and real and say, “We’re sorry. We’ll fix it”,’ she pleaded.
But do we have a choice? “Everything is transparent, everything Google-able and exposable, and you might as well get in first and acknowledge your faults before your narky customers dig them up,” said blogger Sarah Wilson, in her musings on the recent popularity of viral videos ‘shit XXXs say’ that were doing the rounds earlier this year.
So it seems that being authentic and real and admitting your brand’s weaknesses is something you no longer have a choice about. However, as a startup you do have the advantage of creating your brand’s values and ‘personality’ right from the world go.
Here are three ways to make your startup brand flawsome:
- Don’t hide behind the company name, especially online. Make sure you keep your interactions conversational, so customers feel they are engaging with a real person.
- Say sorry. Say you’ll fix it. Coles recently stopped a PR disaster in its tracks by a quick tweet apologising for a social media blunder. “It’s a social media crime not to … finish a sentence yourself. Sorry guys that post was not meant for twitter!” Coles posted. If it’s appropriate, apologise. The sooner the better.
- Make sure your marketing activities profile the faces behind your brand. Your customers don’t need to know what kind of cereal they eat for breakfast, but the more your brand values are linked with the faces behind your company, the more brand loyalty you will create with customers. Just ask Dick Smith.
What do you think? Is flawsome the new trend in business? Do you think flaunting our vulnerability via social media on a daily basis has forced businesses to be more authentic?
Sarah is a freelance copywriter and communications specialist who helps businesses connect with their customers and inspire them to buy. As the owner of Sarah Marie Communications, she helps a diverse range of businesses tell their stories using copywriting, editing, PR and event management solutions.