Posted September 19, 2009 5:12 am by with 4 comments

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Here’s a little confession: I am a big fan of magic. I actually took lessons as a kid and continued it as a hobby through high school, and briefly considered it as a career in college. So it’s no surprise that I would be familiar with Steve Fearson. Fearson is one of the magicians that pioneered the downloadable magic business model. In essence Steve sells “information products” about different illusions on his web sites.

A few days ago Steve launched a new product called “Woofle Dust”. In short the illusion shows the magician snorting large amounts of a magic white powder that is supposed to give him new energy/powers. Shortly after sending a brief email out about this new product, Steve began to receive a barrage of criticism. Most accused Steve of promoting drug use to kids.

Most of us in the Marketing/PR world could have seen this coming from a mile away. But fundamentally Steve isn’t considering Marketing or PR when developing a new illusion. His primary goal is to create an illusion that is entertaining. Most magicians at Steve’s level will experiment with different illusions and variants of dialog in order to see what works best. Some of these illusions are real crowd pleasers that can transform a magician’s career, and others are complete disasters waiting to happen. Crowd pleasers are great, because all you have to do is replicate over and over again and you are golden. The real question is what to do when you unknowingly create a complete disaster?

In Steve’s case, he permanently discontinued the product, and then he created a video explaining the full details of the situation. You may not agree with what Steve has to say in the video, but you can tell that every word that comes out of his mouth is sincere.

Sincerity is an integral aspect to creating trust and authenticity. Both of which are vital to developing a brand on the Internet. Without sincere, engaging dialog, companies are at the mercy of the public’s constant wavering trust.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

The reason that we see such a scarcity of sincerity is because to be sincere you have to be honest. And, sometimes the truth hurts. But if your message is sincere and still provides quality content then you will continue to attract the type of audience that is most likely to invest in your hard work. With every illusion that Steve produces there is a little bit of him in the product. It is this unique quality that sets his products apart from his competitors’ and keeps his business authentic and engaging.