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What Happened?

Successful Strategies, Marketing Misdeeds, and the Brands that Loved Them

Mark Twain popularized the phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics!”

Twain said he was quoting Benjamin Disraeli. As researchers who always look for factual attribution, we’re sorry to say the phrase isn’t in any of Disraeli’s works.

The truth is, it first appeared years after his death. But the undeniable fact is the phrase has become symbolic of the power of poppycock. And is habitually used to prop up imprecise proclamations or predictions.

Why speak of facts this year? Well, the topic of facts – predictive facts – and the nature of truth – marketplace truths – have always been Brand Keys’ focus. And the accuracy of facts seems more germane these days. Particularly since the introduction of “alternative facts” to the dialogue more than a year ago.

Well, you know what they say, “You tell people a lie three times, they will believe anything.”

Actually, “they” didn’t say that at all.

It was Donald Trump. In his book, The Art of the Deal.  Just goes to show you!

Whether intentional or inadvertent, the president has had a difficult relationship with the truth. Mr. Twain would have said, “Not one, who in expressing opinions, confined himself to the facts.”

And he hasn’t.

According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker’s database, the president made a total of 6,420 untruths through October 30th 2018. The Pulitzer Prize-winning, fact checking website Politifact rates presidential statements on a scale from true to “pants on fire!”

According to them, 48% of what the president has said falls into the false through liar-liar-pants-on-fire range! If you include “mostly false” statements that number jumps to 69%. Oops! It’s been averaging out to about 10 a day! Zowie!

Well, that’s politics, we suppose!

The same, however, is unfortunately true for statistics and tweet counts that profess to identify predictions of consumer behavior and brand performance.

Many are just inaccurate or flawed. Some so granular as to obscure the truth. And making predictions and pronouncements tends to be far more popular than actually checking back on the facts.

Emotional engagement and loyalty metrics, on the other hand, are always truthful. They point to what people will actually do, instead of what they say they’re going to do. Because we know the truth – not only by reason, but by the consumer’s heart.

That was Pascal, but at Brand Keys it’s how we roll!

All of these recordings are based on our predictive engagement metrics. All the initial brand and sector assessments appeared online, in newspapers, blogs, and professional journals. Or were presented on TV, radio, or national and international conferences in 2018.

So once again we took our own annual brand polygraph. Brand Keys examined how closely what we predicted about brands and categories actually correlated with market truths.

In short, to see what happened?

What follows are answers to that question.

This year we grilled categories like social networking, major league sports, media, and Millennials. We put Donald Trump, pizza, beer, coffee, and retail in the hot seat. And scrutinized values and behaviors including patriotism, innovation, and binge-watching.

We hope that these facts and insights will inspire you to demand a bit more truth from your own research. Because tweets and shares. Well, those are usually more post-truth than real truth. And the difference can kill you.

We’ve also included some Trends for 2019, which we hope will help you better manage marketing and ad campaigns among your brand’s constituents. And this year, Just One More Thing.

So tune in again this year, or for the first time, and find out – What Happened?

Hit play on any of the tracks on the right to listen to “What Happened?”

What Happened?

Marketplace Stories2018

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