hoax photo of a shark

This blog is dedicated to my mother. She’s the smartest woman I know.

It’s an election season. This means that our interwebs and social media feeds are inundated daily with screeds and screams and diatribes both for and against each and every candidate. I’m a fan of politics, the way some are fans of NASCAR or college basketball. It’s a spectator sport. Albeit and brutal and bloody one, but entertaining for an observer such as myself.

What’s remarkable to me about this particular election is the amount of ruse and obfuscation that is being foisted upon us. Simply speaking, our candidates are lying. Their fans and followers, in turn, are steadily sharing memes and factoids that just don’t add up to the truth, and are poisoning our system of democracy.

While this is not a political blog, and not an endorsement or takedown of any one candidate, I would like to provide one example:

A reporter from Slate magazine penned an article covering the journalists who were covering Donald Trump. He bragged that his rally in Chicago was attended by 25,000 people. The arena holds 10,000. The fire marshal later estimated the crowd to be around 7,000. The Slate reporter asked his fellow journos why they didn’t call him out for the lie. He was told, “We used to fact-check everything, every day, but it gets hard to keep up.”

Meh. Whatever. It’s only the President of the United States we’re talking about.

So what does this have to do with me, or you, or advertising, or your business?

You have a responsibility to tell the truth. It’s your integrity. Your organization has a responsibility to stand behind every word you say in your marketing and online presence.

Do you claim 100% Same-Day Service? You had better be there by the end of the day. 100% satisfaction? It’s a short hop from your site to Yelp or the Better Business Bureau, so be certain. Do you deliver world-class service?

Let’s talk about that.

Rolls Royce makes luxury automobiles. They famously told someone that their automobiles (one would never call a Rolls a “car.”) don’t “break down.” “A Rolls Royce automobile fails to proceed.” They recently recalled one car because they discovered a potential issue with an airbag.

That’s service.

In another case, author and consultant Peter Shankman found himself stepping onto a flight from Florida to Newark, New Jersey. As a lark, like someone commenting on the weather, he Tweeted Morton’s Steakhouse. “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”

Shankman arrived at Newark, and started looking for the driver his assistant had arranged. He soon found a nice man with a sign bearing his name, and next to him, a nice man in a tuxedo. This man was carrying a Morton’s bag. Inside said bag was a 24 oz. Porterhouse, some shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins, and silverware. One could assume that someone at Morton’s looked at Shankman’s Twitter feed and check-ins, discovered that he was indeed a fan of a good steak, and was a faithful Morton’s customer. So they did what he asked.

That’s service.

When you claim something on your website, have the goods to deliver. When you share something on one of your social media accounts, make certain it’s accurate. A blog, like this one, is there to provide you with credibility as a thought leader in your field. I’m not an expert in social media, but I get paid to read and write and post on the behalf of clients. I can tell you what I know. When I need a plumber, I look at their website and social posts, and determine their credibility. Each blog and post is a mini-white paper –  a bit of info that may be valuable to your viewers and fans. It should represent accurate information.

I also spent almost 40 years in the restaurant business, so I have a pretty good grasp of what constitutes good customer service. “Each client is 100% satisfied?” Maybe. “We strive to achieve 100% customer satisfaction?” That’s a more realistic statement.