The Importance of Being Earnest in Marketing

In an Oscar Wilde play, two different men pretend to be named Ernest to claim the affections of two different women. This is totally at odds with the meaning of the word “earnest.” When you are earnest, you are serious and committed. When you are earnest, you are without artifice or duplicity.

Photo of a serious black man by Flickr's Vox Efx

Being earnest is extremely important in the world of communication. Telling people the story of a product or cause, convincing them to purchase it or become involved is our goal, and we must be seriously committed to that, even when the way we tell that story isn’t serious at all. We must be earnest and honest.

Contrary to what a lot of consumers think, the truth is a marketer’s most effective tool. Even if we weren’t required to tell the truth by law, in our business, lying is counterproductive—especially in these times of digital immediacy. If a product or service doesn’t do what it claims to do, people will know, fast.

Our aim should be finding the best way to tell the truth. Unlike politicians, we can’t rely on vagaries and truthiness, and just hope people don’t know enough to find the real story. We have to earn trust for our clients. We have to make the facts interesting and relevant. To do that, being earnest in our endeavor is very important, indeed.

Photo Credit: Flickr’s Vox Efx

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