The loss of innocence | DMA

The loss of innocence

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We live in a 'post' world: post-truth, post-trust and post-Trump. Brands will have to adapt their tone of voice to deal with all this. While results might not be pretty, they will be necessary, vital and if done correctly, successful.

One brand's tone of voice has influenced how other brands present themselves more than any other in the past few years.

The sunny, chummy, said-with-a-wink style of innocent has become the zeitgeist for tone of voice.

You find innocent's tone everywhere. It's friendly, salt of the earth, reminiscent of Blue Peter or Why Don't You? - confident, wholesome and accessible.

And it's over.

Innocent's style has become ubiquitous. This ubiquity means the style it pioneered has become old hat.

And hats off to innocent for creating something so of-the-moment and so in demand by brands that it has been so copied. Imitation is of course the sincerest form of flattery.

But there are changes all around. Trust is in short supply.

PR giant Edelman publishes an annual Trust Barometer, and this year we've run out of Trust. Edelman says trust is in 'crisis'. More than half of respondents (53%) said the, "Current overall system has failed them—it is unfair and offers little hope for the future."

According to Edelman's CEO Richard Edelman, “It began with the Great Recession of 2008," so it's the banks.

He continues, "But like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalization and technological change have further weakened people’s trust in global institutions," ah - so it's global tech giants like Facebook and Google then.

From here he makes quite a jump. "The consequence is virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population has taken control away from the elites.” Wow.

There is some hyperbole there, but there is something to it. We know that cynicism is on the rise. Fake news demands it.

Unfortunately for innocent, trust is no longer the preserve of the school prefect, but of something else entirely.

A recent study showed that people who swear are thought of as more trustworthy.

All this shows that something has indeed changed. All those brands that copied innocent to seem trustworthy might have to find a new approach. Something earthier perhaps.

Or maybe something that really reflects the brand.

Innocent is a wonderful brand and it's difficult to imagine that Innocent will change its tone.

For those brands that copy Innocent's tone, it's time for a rethink.

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