What is your truth?

This is not a question that is normally asked in boardrooms, lets say: ever. It tends to illicit a mix of reactions, from visceral discomfort to elated expression: yet it is the question I can’t stop asking. The word truth isn’t normally used in the same sentence as advertising or marketing, which makes sense as the birth place of advertising was in the arms of the industrial revolution marking the beginning of manufactured need.

Over the last six years of running Lovesocial (a creative communications agency I founded in 2009) we have seen time and time again how manufactured need is losing its impact. There are a few powers at play to thank: the democratization of voice – and thus choice – because of social media & technology, the rise of alternative more authentic options and frameworks to support them (like B Corporations), and the localization of consumer interest.

Earlier this year we decided we would give away the process we have been using for six years for free on LoveSocial’s Grain of Truth.

Here are some of the core takeaways from the Grain of Truth process:

Show the value you provide before making an ask

In today’s deeply e-connected economy, our mindshare is being pulled into hundreds of directions. Smart, agile, and younger brands naturally embody this takeaway and focus on fostering a relationship before pushing for “the ask” (this applies to the non profit and for profit world). Great brands are being personified as relatable people, and we don’t like interacting with people who are self serving, don’t listen and have no value to offer.

Your greatest asset is what you are, not what you’re not

The soundest foundations to build off of are ones that have shown their value and worth over time. Many times the genesis story of a company is actually the heart of where their values lie. Beginning with what you know to be truth about your DNA, instead of manufacturing stories or offerings, is less labor intensive, more satisfying and illustrates more meaning to your audience.

Your team can be your greatest strength or your biggest threat

Never downplay the power of who is on your team. They surround you every day, they make up the ideology and the trajectory of whatever your brand is trying to accomplish and the internal dynamic is ultimately what is transferred to the outside world. The walls between what happens inside of a company and what the audience sees and feels is thinning. You can’t claim to be “authentic” and “innovative” if those very overused terms are not being embodied within.

Finding meaning in your work, makes your work worth doing. We decided to give away our process because we can not afford to downplay the power communication has to an audience, especially from corporations. If we can successfully have a handful of brands pivot their strategies to be more human centered, and turn the mirror around on their team and values, then we have succeeded. Hoarding learnings doesn’t infuse creativity, and ultimately- the truth is free, we just want to remind you of yours.

About the Author

Azita Ardakani

With a background in sociology, Azita has always applied the lens of human drivers to her digital marketing career. Staying committed to Lovesocial’s mandate of authentic marketing strategies, Azita has forged a new kind of entrepreneurship which mixes profit with purpose as a certified B Corporation. She is an advisor to Hootsuite as well as Techstars NYC and has recently been named in Forbes 30 under 30, as well as NY Business Journal Women of Influence.