Honest advertising tells consumers truthfully what they’ll get from your business. It’s more than a marketing technique that makes a product, brand, or service appealing to buyers.

When companies focus on being truthful and avoid unethical practices, they can avoid penalties from regulatory bodies. On the other hand, if people start associating your brand with misleading ads, you’ll lose the public’s trust, become an easy target for competitor attacks, and face government action…sometimes even all of the above.

Modern consumers are catching onto false advertising and recognize it when they see it. They aren’t bought by exaggerated declarations and vague or ambiguous promises. So, how can you become an advertiser that people can trust? The answer is to be more transparent by creating ads that are honest with the audience you’re trying to attract.

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Benefits Of Honest Advertising

Now you may be wondering what having honest ads will do for your company. The answer is that there are plenty of benefits you can look forward to once you start adding more transparency:

Standing Out

Marketers on your creative team are under a lot of pressure to grab customers’ attention and attract new ones. But, at the same time, they are trying to stand out from all the other ads and digital noise competing for people’s attention.

Ads are everywhere, whether you’re watching a Youtube video, scrolling social media, or walking around town. But, unfortunately, consumers can’t pay attention to every ad and often start to tune them out. So, it makes more sense to do something to stand out from the crowd. That’s where your company comes in with an ad that’s honest; something people aren’t expecting to get them to notice the ad.

Establishing Trust

When people register these ads, they often notice and appreciate the honesty, and they are more likely to start trusting these brand slogans. With the people’s trust, you can build a reputation as a business that consumers can trust and build up your client base through more recommendations.

Accepting Differences

There’s always going to be something about a business that will make someone not want to buy from them. This hesitance is different for everyone and isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Maybe your product or service costs more than other options on the market, or you’re a small business just starting, or you’re not able to be as flexible as some of your competitors.

Some companies will try to hind what they think customers won’t like about them, but being honest with your ads is about embracing what makes your company stand out. For example, if your product or service is more expensive, explain the quality they’ll be getting and why that’s beneficial to them.

Using Humor

People love satire and companies that don’t take themselves too seriously. An excellent example of this is an ad for Optus, an Australian Telecommunications Company that worked with an advertising agency in Australia. In this ad, comedian Ricky Gervais advertises a deal for its customers.

Gervais makes fun of Optus and other companies for getting celebrities to promote their products. Though the company is doing the same thing, customers can see that the business knows what it’s doing and can laugh at itself.

Humor is a fun tool to use when you spend time creating ads. However, don’t feel pressured to add humor; these ads can also be serious. For instance, the #LikeAGirl campaign by Always where the commercial talks about sexism women face in their everyday lives. The focus of this ad is to empower girls even despite these struggles.

Finding Loyal Customers

What global brands have done to find success is building a loyal customer base. Once consumers trust your brand, they’ll keep coming back to it to get the products they like. They do this to avoid disappointment from companies they aren’t familiar with. When your business uses honest marketing, you’re sharing what you do with the people who will appreciate it the most.

Connecting with people who love your products and most align with your values is what honest advertising is all about. When you build these authentic connections with your customer base, you won’t need to beg people to use your products.

It also shows that you’re confident in your product or service. When you’re honest, you show people that you don’t need to lie or trick them into going with your brand. This leads customers to respect your company.

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Making Honest Advertising Work

Honest advertising may sound too good to be true, but there are some things you need to do to make sure you reap the benefits of this technique. To make this work, you need to be confident in your company.

What makes this technique work well is the perfect balance between being honest and creating appeal for your product. Sometimes if a company is too open, it can send possible consumers to choose a different brand.

Traditional marketing concentrates on positives about a product or service and tends to try and cover up any negativity or weaknesses, which isn’t what people always want to see. But, on the other hand, many consumers want brands to be endearing to them, and companies can do this through the shock and amusement of honest advertising.

Sometimes telling potential customers what your products’ shortcomings are, they’ll believe you and feel like you are just trying to make money off of them. Doing this will also weed out people who try to find all the negatives about your product when they buy it. Think of it as a beating them to the punch strategy.

What’s Included In An Honest Ad

It may be tempting to think that as long as you don’t lie, you’ll avoid false advertising, but you could be publishing misleading ads and not know that that’s what you’re doing.

Business owners are busy, and it’s time-consuming trying to understand and study advertising rules to create honest advertisements. To ensure all your campaigns are honest, make sure they have the following characteristics:

honest advertising

Make All Your Advertising Honest

Ensuring that all your ads in the future are honest will build trust with your customer base. Remember that creating an honest advertising campaign is a gradual process, and it takes time for you to build trust with your target audience.

Advertising and honesty haven’t gone together previously, but there’s a significant promise of transparency between brands and customers. Consumers now even have the ability to read reviews online on a product or service before they buy it.  They can just as well vent their complaints on social media…

With more people getting access to the internet and publishing their own content, it isn’t surprising that people are having a hard time trusting a brand when they say they’re honest and authentic. According to a poll done in the US and the UK by Hubspot Research in 2018, customer trust is lower than ever. The poll shows that:

69% of people don’t trust ads in general, and 71% of people don’t trust ads on social media

At the same time, 81% of people trust advice from friends and family over advice from a business. These numbers show just how important it is to build trust with consumers to ensure they feel comfortable enough to talk about your company with the people they know.

With the current amount of distrust, brands will have a more challenging time making honest advertising. As a result, you’ll need to be able to provide evidence of your claims of honesty and authenticity. This is one of the practices that will restore customers’ trust in sales and marketing.

Creating honest advertising that’ll change the current culture of dishonesty in the advertisement industry isn’t going to be easy or done overnight. But, you can:

  • Carve a space for your business by starting to build trust.
  • Focus on achieving regular and reasonable promises and not what you think people want to hear.
  • If you happen to make a mistake, don’t try to cover it up; plan to resolve it openly.

It’s your responsibility to provide your customers with full disclosure on what they’ll be buying, and it’s their responsibility to be diligent about the products they buy. Every part of your company needs to incorporate this into its culture. Once you do, the benefits will be worth the investment.

Conclusion

Honest advertising may seem like the opposite of what you want to do, but this technique doesn’t mean you have to overshare with the public. What you decide to include in your ads is up to you and should be done strategically. Always remember your goal should be to build and keep the trust of your current and potential customers.