In an era when ‘fake news’ is rife, how do you make sure your company’s message comes across as authentic and realistic, without being hidden by the voices of bigger businesses in your industry?
Fake news is deliberately fabricated or misleading information presented as genuine news with the intention to deceive or manipulate. It is often synonymous with ‘politics’ and accelerated by social media’s dominance over our society.
Especially as we now live in a state of information overload, not to mention the presence of AI-generated stories and images, the challenge of conveying a genuine message to a believing audience has never been harder.
The rise of fake news has added an additional layer of complexity to this task, making it crucial for businesses to navigate through the noise with authenticity and precision. As experts in brand communication, we understand the significance of genuine communication in building trust to establish a lasting connection with your audience. Here, our Account Executive, Katie Sessions, explains how to maintain authenticity and control over your message in a world of fake news.
Fact-checking and source verification
Fake news poses a considerable threat to the credibility of businesses and their communication efforts. One of the most famous examples of this is the ‘Stop the steal’ movement in the US, in which disinformation led to the storming of the Capitol in 2020.
In a world where misinformation can spread like wildfire through social media channels and unregulated sites, companies must be proactive in safeguarding their brand reputation and ensuring that their messaging remains truthful and transparent. The nature of ‘cancel culture’ means that one wrong move can condemn your business to irrelevancy if caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Thorough fact-checking and source verification in the content creation process can eliminate this problem before it arises. Before disseminating any information, it is crucial to ensure that the facts presented are accurate and supported by credible sources, which means dedicated and careful planning around all brand messages. This commitment to accuracy not only strengthens the company’s reputation but also builds trust among stakeholders.
Transparency in communication
Transparency is a cornerstone of authentic communication. Being open and honest in your interactions with your audience will create a trust that can’t be replicated with exaggerated claims and fake stories. Whether addressing challenges or celebrating successes, transparent communication fosters a sense of credibility and reliability, ultimately enhancing the company’s overall reputation. One example you might recognise is of KFC’s actions after the chain ran out of chicken in 2018, and they put out an apology with a cheeky ad in a popular newspaper, apologising for the mishap in a genuine and funny way.
You must also be prepared to face potential crises head-on. If your service or business is controversial, or unsavoury news comes out, you should be prepared for a proactive crisis management strategy that involves a rapid response, clear messaging, and a commitment to addressing issues transparently. By taking control of the narrative during difficult moments like a company crisis, you’re not only winning back the trust of your audience, but you can mitigate the impact of false information in the fallout.
Building strong relationships with media
There’s a symbiotic relationship between companies and the media, in which both needs the other to disseminate honest and authentic stories. By cultivating strong relationships with journalists and media outlets, businesses can ensure that their authentic messages reach a broader audience, and the correct audience. This is especially powerful for businesses with niche audiences, where healthy relationships with one or two targeted outlets can boost the standing of the business exponentially. These connections also provide opportunities to correct misinformation promptly. The most effective way to build these relationships is of course through a PR agency, who have the reach, experience and resources to maintain relationships with journalists and outlets relevant to your audience.
Storytelling remains a powerful tool in brand communication, and goes hand-in-hand with having strong media relations. By recognising where you have authentic stories that resonate with an audience, you can humanise the brand and connect with individuals on a personal level. This can establish a genuine connection that is more resistant to the effects of fake news.
What can I do now?
By adopting a proactive approach to telling your own story, companies can ensure that their messages are not only heard, but trusted by the right audiences. At Faith Brand Communications, we remain committed to guiding businesses toward building lasting connections with their audiences based on trust, credibility, and authenticity – so if that’s what you’re looking for, why not get in touch today?