Trust in the time of Coronavirus

Why your next brand activation should be the truth.


In the age of stories, where even facts have alternative endings, giving customers the truth is the most compelling thing you can do.

Gather dear readers around this vast communal campfire of the screen and listen to my tale. Every word is true, even those added for SEO purposes (for example, storyteller, copywriting, brand storytelling).


Alright, so I’m not really that sort of storyteller. But I do get paid to tell stories on a daily basis – mainly what people on LinkedIn Premium call ‘brand narratives’. These are the single source from which brand activations spin. 

Briefings always begin with me asking awkward questions: will that development really help local people? Is that hot sauce actually made from a traditional recipe? Just how, exactly, is this toilet revolutionary?

Awkward questions are important because they uncover the brand truth. This truth is something we should never ignore, no matter how inconvenient it proves to our award-winning branding.


If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that bullshit always gets called. Greenwash and wokewash come out in the wash. Saying one thing and doing another is not a long-term strategy for success. The people remember.

As creatives, we know that our most fertile ideas grow from the truth. Giving the consumer messages made of unadulterated certainty has the greatest impact.

Most recently: “Stay at home. Save lives…” versus the disastrous “Stay alert. Control the virus…” 

But also, the perennial: “We only use 100% locally-sourced ingredients.”

And “Never, ever from concentrate.”

I would even argue: “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” It might be about how Pringles override impulse control and lead to addiction, but at least it’s honest. 


For brands, the truth is the currency that buys trust. As consumers continue to hold companies to higher standards than even their elected officials, the value of that currency will only grow.

So take your copywriting budget and triple it. Call in the creative strategists and let’s have a long, frank conversation. Because your next activation should be the truth. 



Fast Moving Consumer Solutions identifies trust as a master problem area that Food and Drink brands face. Our research reveals the deeper consumer behaviours, emotions and trends around it.

The FMCS toolkit includes developed solutions in response to the trust problem.