2016 was mental.
Not an eloquent sentiment, but an accurate one from many people’s perspective. Even in a year when so many cultural icons were lost, it was seismic political shifts that held our attention, and for many, our disbelief. On two separate occasions, the thing we thought could never happen, happened while we were asleep. The early remain lead in the Brexit referendum, became a leave outcome, and an early lead for Clinton collapsed into the most controversial US election outcome we have ever seen.
Both campaigns were fuelled by emotion. Both campaigns muddied the water. Both campaigns were labelled protest as votes by a disillusioned electorate. It has been these two events and their social media tsunamis that resulted in The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year being “post-truth”.
There was a feeling immediately after the Brexit referendum, that we all had been duped.
The Brexit leave campaign had an almost immediate revelation that many of the campaign promises were questionable. The most notable and public of these was the retraction of the £350 Million promised to the NHS on the day of the result, which sparked considerable outrage. For many, there was a feeling immediately after the Brexit referendum, that had been duped.
Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has not tempered his use of social media, with two very high profile Aerospace stock impacts based purely on a tweet from the president elect. One wonders how soon many of his promises may become difficult to deliver on. The first half of 2017 will reveal how patient the US public is.
The potential political dissatisfaction that people have with their own choices in 2016 may have the result of making the “post truth era” a short one.
Closer to home, we had our own protest vote in 2016. There has been much political commentary on the notion that the government is incapable of achieving anything, due to the fact that no party has a clear majority. Again, some promised have remained undelivered.
The potential political dissatisfaction that people have with their own choices in 2016 may have the result of making the “post truth era” a short one. Once bitten, twice shy. People are going to being looking for proof before they buy any political idea. This may not come to fruition in 2017, but it will most certainly begin.
Why is this important?
What is true in society has consequences in marketing. Don’t be shocked if consumers push aside promises and demand proof. It is up to all marketers to make sure it is there.