I'm not going to pretend to have any idea what Brian Williams was thinking.
Did he mean to embellish the facts of his 2003 experience in Iraq? Or did he honestly remember the situation that way?
At age 51, I can't recall how I got to work most mornings, let alone the details of an event 12 years ago. But on the flip side, I'm absolutely positive I've never been shot at in a helicopter at any point in my life.
Regardless of the who, what, why, when or if, this whole thing should remind us that the truth still matters to people. Stretching it may have cost Brian Williams his career and NBC News serious brand damage.
What does that lesson mean for your marketing?
Especially in the Internet era, customers and prospects can determine pretty quickly when your advertising has misrepresented the truth, or even when the experience you allude to isn't consistent with what they actually encounter.
So, when marketing your business, don't lie. Don't even exaggerate. Instead, use the time you have with your audience to shine honest light on your brand's unique value and differences.
Padding the truth leads to customer disappointment, erodes trust, damages your reputation, and makes it harder for your next message to resonate with your audience.
(Photo credit: NBC News)