Lisa Steingold
Lisa Steingold

Cut the cr*p – the power of authenticity

by Lisa Steingold. As a marketer, I believe there are two things that can assist us with change in times of fear and hopelessness: purpose and truth.

by Lisa Steingold. In my eyes, as a marketer, writer and human, there are two things that can assist us to transform in times of fear and hopelessness: purpose and truth. Today I’d like to give some attention to the latter.

Job losses, economic destruction and complete restructuring of our lives; of course, fear seeps its way into our very being. Bring it back to our own economy and throw in politicians who play the game for their own benefit and it’s easy to feel hopeless. In 2017 I wrote a book called, Cut the Crap – the Power of Authenticity; and whilst the world has changed so much in two and a half years that it needs a major edit, the core theme of authenticity and accountability have never been more relevant.

Just last week, the world’s darling, Fintech company Wirecard, collapsed in a horrifying fraud scandal admitting that 2 billion euros likely did not exist. I’d call that quite an omission. The company that just one month ago was the golden child of the DAX, has now all but folded. We won’t go into too much depth regarding the more than $30 billion loss on behalf of Volkswagen’s betrayal of their environmentally-conscious customer base; and there are countless others, like #Steinhoff and their ilk.

So how do we take these stories and in turn contribute positively to South Africans desperately seeking to shift their businesses and rise from the proverbial ashes? It’s true that it has never been easier to lie, and social media is filled with half-truths and augmented versions of reality, however,  we can’t focus on them. What I do see subtly happening is a delightful transition of power shift. Where we once looked to governments to provide direction, we can and must now set our own direction.

Never before has there been a greater opportunity to change the world through connected communities and through taking a stand. It occurred to me when reading “What Consumers Want from Brands in 2020”: ‘87% of customers buy from organisations that share their cause’. Yes, we still need presidents, but to inspire wide scale change and wealth – we need brands.

Okay, well I’m a small business struggling so how, you may ask? These are the important questions:

  • Determine what’s important to you? Do you believe in what you’re trying to do?
  • Can you make a business out of it, i.e., the model itself? eCommerce? Direct to Consumer?
  • What are you selling? Not the item itself, but what are you selling? Joy? Laughter? Love? Ease? Luxury? If Kevin Fraser can make an impact through laughter and more than earn a living, then you can make an impact and more than a living through your choice.

I speak from experience in that it doesn’t take much to start a brand. But in order to build a brand, one must come from a place of truth and real intention to change the status quo. It’s easy to get stuck and trapped, even in fear, understandable even; but if we open our minds to the possibilities available, there’s a whole world out there.


Lisa Steingold is consulting Head of Marketing for Metaco; the author of ‘Cut the Crap; the Power of Authenticity for Brands’; and a Chartered Marketer. She has a passion for tech, disruptive thinking and behaviour change.


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