From Image to Reality

I had the pleasure of attending South by Southwest this year (SXSW). I met a lot of interesting people, got the latest input in trends within Digital and also got to discuss and learn more about how to run a Digital Production agency.

In one of the sessions I attended, David Jones, the CEO of Havas, had written “From image to reality” on one of his slides. He was talking about why brands should care about charity – a very good session I might add. But that slide, it stuck with me.

Those four words describe so well what is happening with brands and the reason we both like and trust them.

Not many years ago, companies with a lot of cash could easily buy attention and support for their brands. A company could even produce crap products (hello, Nokia) and still have major success. Of course, this method is still a reality today, but it’s a lot harder to do and takes much more cash than before.

What makes it harder? In this age of everyone being online and social, not only through their computers but also their phones – it’s almost impossible to keep secrets.

A big brand that treats their employees like shit is no longer able to hide that from the world. A big brand that doesn’t really care about making great products – same thing.

Ten years ago, we did not have hundreds of friends on Facebook, or thousands of followers on Twitter – our biggest audience and farthest reach was our lunch table at work. That has all changed. Everyone has an audience now.

Because of this ‘instant audience’ where once you were forced to use your marketing budget to create your image, you now have to use it to tell your audience about reality – or amplify the reality. Of course, you focus on your best sides, who wouldn’t? But it’s not about seducing the audience with your “selly selly” marketing message anymore- it’s about showing them the best sides of you, the real sides – the Good, the bad and the ugly.

I personally love this change. It puts the audience in charge. It’s much harder to buy yourself a good reputation now. You have to SHOW that your care.

We’ve gone from image to reality.