Who do you believe in a post-truth world?
We live in strange times.
The Oxford Dictionary announced the 2016 Word of the Year as Post-truth. And you hardly have to pick through the bones of the last few years to find out why — truth has taken a battering over Brexit, been trumped by Trump, and even been a casualty of war in Syria. Adam Curtis’s latest documentary, HyperNormalisation, puts forward the argument that politicians (and other leaders in society) deliberately put out mixed messages — to confuse the narrative, weaken our own certainty and strengthen their own position. Set against this, it’s no wonder that Britain’s trust deficit is getting worse. Scandals, cover-ups and exposés have hit every pillar of society — from the police to the church, from the government to the press — and the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index shows just how much the roof has fallen in on trust. This has a profound effect on anyone in the business of communication. Everything we write has a spokesperson behind it — every fundraising appeal, every piece of content, every call to action — and the choice of voice is critical. And sorry to the charity chief execs reading this, but your trust rating is down at 46% — it might be time for someone else to get a look-in.
I'm always looking to sound out the strongest voices. It often means going beyond the obvious to create the greatest connection with your audience. For WaterAid, it meant asking a cameraman to step in front of camera. Mike Craven-Todd’s performance might not have been polished, but it truly came from the heart of a father who’s filmed the effects of dirty water for 20 years. That authenticity shone through in the results, with our Through the Lens ad delivering the strongest response in a long time, as well as high conversion rates, as donors gladly turned into supporters.
For UNISON, the Thank Your Champions campaign was based on the real stories of a pensioner, accident survivor and teenager who wanted to acknowledge the incredible support that the unsung heroes of public service had given them. Across the country, people voiced their own thank you on an interactive map, and we were overjoyed to see this overwhelmingly-positive response on MumsNet. Importantly, the effect has been seen by UNISON members, who’ve had people go out of their way to say thank you in person. For Dogs Trust, we’ve taken the philosophy of get-out-of-the-way to the extreme; largely taking the organisation out of the conversation, and connecting supporters directly with the voices of the dogs themselves. Well, if you don’t believe in 30kgs of loving Labrador with come-hither eyes, just who can you trust? Surely a lesson for the politicians. At GOOD, we’d love to help you find your voice. I’ll stop short of calling us experts though. It appears we’ve largely had enough of those.