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Authenticity Sells. You Could Call It the New Sexy.

Nicolas Cole had a great two-minute read on Medium talking about the type of content that goes viral. He writes: “One of the ironies of the Internet is that when you write things you expect people to read, nobody reads them. When you write things you’re a little hesitant to share (because they reveal something vulnerable about you), everybody reads them. The more honest the content, the more it gets shared.” He’s right. It's why I love KFC’s brilliant PR recovery (I usually write about the fiascos) after the fast-food chain ran out of chicken--YES A CHICKEN CHAIN RAN OUT OF CHICKEN--in the UK after logistics issues with a new supplier.

How can we spin this one? Linus thought to himself.

Apparently, some “hangry” customers even called the police. Rather than blame its supplier, the chain ran one completely brilliant ad, riffing on its revered logo. That’s right; KFC became FCK, on an empty chicken bucket, to boot. KFC, part of Yum! Brands, is no advertising slouch. It recently introduced its first celebrity woman colonel, Reba McEntire, the perfect answer to #MeToo and a welcome nod to less gender-rigid norms. But one’s values shine brightest in crises, rather than in planned campaigns. Consumers intuitively know this. That’s when tone matters, and it’s clear that no one had time to rehearse. You bring the game you’ve got. To say that we live in an age of alternative facts and fake news sounds like the kindergarten version of current events. One important upshot is this: authentic voices are highly valued. They are the white tigers, the black swans, the species rarely seen. Lies lull an audience, but authenticity of mission and message is that bracing cold shower that shocks us alive and reminds us that ah, the content creator speaking to us is actually human. Thus the seed of trust is borne. The bottom line? Put more of yourself into your content. More of your corporate and personal values, more of the “secret sauce” you’ve been warned against sharing, more of what really seems to matter in the moment. Go for broke. You will find, I suspect, that while a minute but vocal percentage may rebel, or you fail to win a tax break, the vast and typically silent majority will rally and rejoice that someone finally leveled with them. When trust is in short supply, trustworthy messaging rises to the top. --stet-- Susan Kostal is a legal marketing consultant and content strategist located in San Francisco Bay Area. Find her monthly column on Attorney at Work & check out more great content here. This post originally appeared in Susan Kostal's Legal Marketing Bits & Bites Newsletter. Sign up for more content here.

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