Last week we hosted our very first session in the Cultural Insight Forum series – centred around the concepts of trust, truth, fake news and privacy. With a fantastic turnout on a very warm May evening, we explored what brands should do to combat the sea of negativity in our post-truth world.

First up, Robert Phillips spoke about the Trust crisis, equating it to effectively “sh*t gone wrong”. He blasted companies who seek to be trustworthy, and suggested that their real focus should just to be to Do The Right Thing (something we at the7stars hold dear!).

He cited the incredible rise of brands such as Airbnb and Uber as those of interest – business models based on having absolute trust in strangers, which is counterintuitive to human instinct. Phillips’ argument was that trustworthiness actually represents honesty, competence, reliability and benevolence, and these should be the guiding principles for any business.

He was followed by Sean Pillot de Chenecey, who took us on a whistle-stop tour through the Post-Trust world. One particularly poignant example of a brand showing true authenticity was the French supermarket U, who used Snapchat stories to showcase the provenance of the exact fish a consumer was currently purchasing. The authenticity around ‘fresh’ extended to the medium – as the stories only lasted 24 hours in total.

We chose to take attendees through the consumer picture, from their lack of interest in the concept of Fake News – if you consider April Fool’s Day, then you’ll agree its nothing new – through to their desire for online serendipity from brands (2 in 3 want to be surprised and delighted).

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to being authentic, but it does feel there are many ways that brands can trip themselves up in the race to appear honest. It’s not often that Lightbox references the US Navy, but given the opportunity, we think it all boils down to the KISS principle – Keep it simple, stupid.

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