We’ve all seen organizations — regardless of their size — make huge mistakes. Whether it be a financial institution, sports organization, or local business — mistakes can be costly, and even more so if a strong communication strategy is not put in place immediately.  

It makes us wonder, how many of a company’s customers would remain loyal — following the mishap — if the company had simply told its customers the truth? 

We’ve been reflecting on an article from AdAge by global brand strategist and self-professed contrarian Jonathan Salem Baskin. He states, “The real challenge isn't to find ways to avoid the truth or distract consumers from it (or shudder when it is revealed), but rather to creatively present it and make sure people understand it. 

This leads us to ask ourselves a more fundamental question: How can our agency help before the crisis? 

Can a marketing agency help save a brand from itself? Can we help establish a trusting relationship between a brand and its consumers? 

The answer is yes. Here’s how. 

Our clients hire us for our expertise. 

They know their product and targets. We know the other players in the market, their voice, and their perceived competitive advantage. 

Our job is to identify then leverage fresh opportunities for education, for nurturing our clients, and exploiting where the competition has no true advantage. That does not mean calling out competitor’s weaknesses but rather using market expertise to expose new benefits. 

It is our responsibility to establish a unique voice that is authentic to the client. Authentic is not a buzzword. Consumers demand it. We need to deliver. 

We need to creatively use examples, case studies, testimonials--something no customer of Equifax or Wells Fargo could ever give today--to build confidence for our client’s brands.  

A great customer experience is at the core of every brand’s mission or should be. If the client says it, make sure they mean it. 

Most importantly, we’ve got to listen. Listen carefully and call out BS when we hear it — and encourage brands to do the same. Agency relationships with our clients need to be exactly what we advise and encourage the client to have with their customers — open, honest, and trusting.