Written by Dan George, Creative Director at Aspectus Group

Have you seen that BuzzFeed clip of Obama calling Trump a dipshit yet?

Obviously it’s fake, but it doesn’t look it. The video makes a powerful case for the role of independent, quality media outlets to show us the truth among a sea of lies and misinformation.

And it’s an important case to make, since a failure of the media to adequately explain its role to the public surely played some part in the decline of faith in the fourth estate. It’s time to set that right.

But what about brands? What should they do?

First, if anything stands out among the findings of this year’s excellent Edelman Trust Barometer, it’s that customers trust company content more than they do journalists, influencers, and company CEOs.

So brands should go direct to their audiences as often as they can. After all, as BuzzFeed has just shown, if they don’t then someone else may make convincing counterfeit content in their place. The best way to stop them is to avoid leaving a space for the fakes to fill.

But more importantly, they should be more honest. I don’t just mean by telling the truth – or even by cutting down on spin and exaggeration. I mean honesty in all its forms.

This basically boils down to living up to people’s expectations and not overselling yourself. If your customer expects you to deliver within a certain timeframe, make sure you do. If you promote a blog on Twitter, steer clear of the clickbait.

Nobody likes being told that “number eight is a killer!” only to click through to yet another generic list about the benefits of blockchain. And that sinking feeling is deeply damaging to your brand.

Because, ultimately, it’s not just disappointing when what we get isn’t what we wanted; it makes us question whether it ever will be. It’s the first slip down the slope.

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