Friday, February 26, 2010

It's About Authenticity

Sport Illustrated writer Luke Winn just wrote one of my favorite articles of the Winter Olympics titled "Ain't not party like a gold medal party" about the celebration of the Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey Team. In light of the controversy created by what Winn called the "latest moronic piece of news," he writes an article about the "most authentically cool celebration [he's] seen at the games".

The IOC falls into a bucket of people that do not understand the forces behind the progressive maturation of our culture. Social technologies have made us all more transparent and honest in the way we communicate and act. We see more and more salutes to people in positions of power who lighten up and communicate openly and honestly rather than behind the veil of scripted, well rehearsed, politically correct rhetoric (as with Arnold's video tweet).

This isn't surprising to those of us that actively follow trends and research in today's communications. We try and help businesses understand research showing us:
  • 75% of people don't believe that companies tell the truth in advertisements (Yankelovich)
  • Consumers trust friends above experts when it comes to product recommendations (65% trust friends, 27% trust experts, 8% trust celebrities). (Yankelovich)
  • 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know (EConsultancy);
These trends are telling people that there is low trust in traditional communications, the way we've scripted and shaped and delivered messaging. This is not just related to advertising, but to media and communications in general. People report their own news on blogs now and turn to each other for product and service recommendations.

Maggie Hendricks from Yahoo reported on Jon Montgomery's "needless apology", telling Jon and the rest of us that we don't always have to listen to our PR people. Luckily, Jon showed us all including the Olympic women's team that people want to see us be ourselves because we relate. Until I saw the girls celebrate, Jon's victory walk was my favorite moment of the games.

For those out there that remind us that this issue is about under age drinking and smoking bylaws, I'll submit that last week's story about Alexa Gonzalez showed us that 'zero tolerance means zero intelligence'. As Winn reminds us of how much we appreciate authenticity, perhaps the IOC can show us that they recognize the spirit of our athletes and the work they have put into their victory.

But as a more general theme about our changing communication, we feel that people want truth not spin. We want positive, not negative. We want to celebrate achievement rather then harp on disappointment. We want understanding, not judgement. And most of all, we want authenticity. Way to go girls - luv ya!



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syeds said...
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