In the past, to achieve success, all companies needed to do was create a great product or quality service. Now that’s changed. The modern customer is looking for genuine and transparent experiences from the brands they choose. Not only do they want a product that does what it says on the tin, but they also want to feel good about the brands they associate with.
Around 86% of consumers have said authenticity is important when choosing a brand. It’s a crucial factor for not just Millennials but Gen X and Baby Boomers alike.
WHAT IS BRAND AUTHENTICITY?
Brand authenticity is all about honesty. Consumers expect brands to be honest. When you are open about your policies and transparent about your mission and values, consumers develop a genuine emotional connection to your brand. Doing so allows you to bridge the gap between their expectations and actual experiences with your brand.
WHY IS BEING AN AUTHENTIC BRAND IMPORTANT?
Building your brand authenticity is a big task, but it’s definitely worth the hassle. When you put honesty at the centre of what you do as a brand, it’s easier to have a conversation about brand purpose and develop solid values to stand by. Most of all, you’re able to create a loyal consumer base of brand advocates that speak highly of your reputation.
You’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition when you’re authentic. Why wouldn’t you want that? It’s what your consumers crave as individuals. That’s why they see brands not just as a necessity but an extension of themselves.
Brand authenticity matters because your consumers believe being authentic to themselves matters. They will choose to go with your brand because your authenticity says something about who they are as individuals.
STEPS TO CREATING AN AUTHENTIC BRAND
The customers need for authenticity isn’t going anywhere. They’ll always want to know more about what they are purchasing and who they are purchasing from. Can you be trusted with their hard-earned money? Are you living up to your values as a company?
To ensure you live up to their expectations, here are a few ways you can build the authenticity of your brand and grow your business:
- Be real and honest
- Go beyond marketing – Tell your story
- Become a trusted brand expert
- Be consistent
- Make communication simple
- Be authentic, but don’t forget to innovate
It’s often easy to get lost in the day to day routine of running a business as time goes on. Companies can even forget why they exist during the process. So first things first, get back to your roots. Remember why you started doing business. Reassess your brand goals, identify what matters to yourself and your target audience, and if your brand is new, work on building those strong foundations.
You’ll find your authentic self as a brand at the end of the process, and with that, the opportunity to tell your brand story whilst remaining true to what you represent.
Everyone loves a good story, and your consumers are no different. Go beyond the promotional material and the typical sales pitch. Create content and perform activities that add value to your customers. Be responsive and answer their questions with helpful information and make the extra effort to educate them.
Before you know it, you’ll be connecting with your audience on an emotional level that’s relatable and genuinely authentic.
Heard of the phrases sharing is caring? If you haven’t been sharing, it’s time you started. You might not realise it just yet, but the experience and practical knowledge you’ve accumulated is valuable to your target audience. Share it with them.
I’m not saying give away your trade secrets, but if you have valuable insight and if your company does things a little different from everybody else, tell them why. Brag about it, even. Talk about something great you’ve done and explain how you got there.
One thing to bear in mind, when you share, you need to do it in an orderly fashion. Start by strengthening your media channels (website, blog, social media etc.). Engage with your target audience and start the process early. Fill the gaps in their knowledge and become their trusted expert advisor. As a consequence, you’ll build brand awareness, drive engagement and move your audience to make a purchase decision.
There’s not much to write here. Just be the same brand tomorrow as you are today. It’s not just about the way your brand looks or the colour palette and the style guides you use in your documentation. Sure those things help your audience remember who you are, and that’s a good thing.
However, being a consistent brand is more than that. It’s your tone of voice as a brand, the language you use in your content. It’s what you say and who you say it to. Getting this right builds a solid, authentic relationship between you and your target audience, so you must do it well.
TIP: Be consistent about who you are and what you do across all your marketing channels. Anything other than that simply won’t be good enough.
Good communication is key to every successful relationship and, when done correctly, can do wonders for your brand. What’s important here is to remember that good communication is a conversation between two parties. How you communicate with your audience is not just informing them about what’s happening with your brand, it’s an open invitation that invites them to discuss their pain points, new ideas and solutions relevant to you both.
The best way to make this process easier is to be where your customers are. If they’re on Instagram, then that’s where you should be. Make it easy for them to get the answers they need how and whenever they need it. Go above and beyond to listen and act on their feedback on your products and services. In doing so, you’ll significantly contribute to making your brand that much more authentic.
Whilst it’s essential to get back to the grassroots of your brand. After all, what your brand represents creates a framework for a truly authentic brand. However, you must move forward and look ahead.
Keep with industry trends, maintain high-quality standards, be open to new things, and be your authentic brand self, but in a new way that’s easy to understand and tells your brand story in an open and honest way.
What is Brand Positioning?
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your brand in the mind of your customers. More than a tagline or a fancy logo, brand positioning is the strategy used to set your business apart from the rest.
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