recently published an article detailing what makes millennials tick when it comes to buying decisions and customer behavior. The article notes in part, “If you were born between 1982 and 2000, congratulations, you are a millennial. There are 83 million of you in the U.S. alone, making up 26% of the population and spending about $600 billion a year, with this expected to grow to at least $1.4 trillion by 2020. [A] company getting digital and social media right is Johnson & Johnson, with its ‘#Seetherealme’ campaign for its line of Clean & Clear skin products. Real life adolescent girls were shown trying to cope with their skin problems in a 19-part YouTube series, which garnered over 10 million views.”

The article continues, “Many people (especially millennials) were impressed, and touched, by the authenticity of the campaign…Many experts caution that what millennials want is for companies to be honest, open and transparent with them when it comes to selling and marketing a particular product. Ultimately, they want to have a ‘conversation’ with a company’s brand and engage with it on their own terms.”

This reminds us all that believability is a crucial element of sales success. All the offers, calls to action, clever phrases, fancy graphics and glamor don’t ultimately work if people don’t find a company credible. And, with social media serving as an immediate and influential medium to spread the word, believability needs to permeate the company, and be accurately reflected in marketing and sales.

Believability also is a major factor in the shift to storytelling in many promotional venues. For example, look at the number of TV commercials—from Apple to Android—that paint a picture, tell a story, relate a tale of heroism or dramatic comebacks, etc.

Part of the reason for storytelling (as well as joketelling) is scientific evidence that these types of presentations are subject to less critical analysis by our brains. In other words, the message tends to resonate more readily. In an August issue of Communication World, author Lynda McDaniels notes, “Stories captivate us, in part, because they take us out of our critical left brain so that we’re no longer on the sidelines listening—we’re there with the storyteller.”

However, believability is as believability does. Actions, ongoing performance and behavior all are subject to constant scrutiny in today’s info-charged world. As presidential candidates, celebrities and other high-profile folks have learned all too painfully, it doesn’t take a lot—or a long time—for high credibility to sink to troubling lows.

So when viewing believability in your organization, think about it from top to bottom, in everything you do and say. Then, make sure your marketing sales efforts reflect your true level of believability.

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