To put it simply, brand authenticity is the stick to which all companies must eventually measure up.
Yes, sales are incredibly important, but putting the proverbial cart before the horse has never worked for anyone.
The thing is, brand authenticity doesn’t magically emerge from an impressive sales season; rather, it stems from a deliberate, mindful commitment that’s formed right from the get-go. As you establish an authentic brand identity, you build a lasting platform on which to build relationships with your customers—and as hard as it might be to believe, there are a number of booming brands that have made this the cornerstone of all that they do.
These businesses don’t cut corners in presenting a true-to-life version of who they are, and because of it, their brand sincerity has brought them continual levels of tremendous success. It’s a fact—brand authenticity is very much possible and beneficial for your brand. Still not convinced? The following should help change your mind:
Authenticity is Appealing and Easily Recognized
The thing is, just about anyone can build a great-looking website and develop a few social channels to go along with it. You could even take things a step further and produce a host of different content types to be featured both on and off of your site, but here’s the thing: consumers are smart.
It’s surprisingly easy for them to recognize what is brand authenticity and what isn’t. They’ve been online for years now and know the difference between what’s worth their time and what’s built on little more than a sorry sales pitch. This is why the best marketing agencies now focus on helping their clients build meaningful relationships with their customers, rather than simply trying to find new ways to word an ad.
What will undoubtedly set you apart from the masses is an ability to build an emotional connection with your target demographic. Remember, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional, not logical. As such, when you make a conscious effort to stay true to what your business values most (i.e. Chick-fil-A’s ethical commitment to avoiding work on Sundays), publicly perceived authenticity skyrockets.
It’s not just big brands who benefit from authenticity. In fact, the brand authenticity a smaller company emanates could very well be key to its ability to connect with consumers and grow its business.
Now, armed with a better understanding of the why behind brand authenticity, it’s time to dig deeper to find solutions to your company’s issues with approachability and image. As such, the sooner you can put the following three tips into practice, the better.
1) Choose Your Brand Attributes Wisely
In today’s day and age, far too many businesses don’t put nearly enough time and effort into building a list of core values to which they’re wholeheartedly committed. Even worse, when they do, terms like, “authentic,” “plugged-in” and “straight-talking” are freely tossed around to try to humanize their brand. It’s not that these kinds of descriptors are innately bad or untrue, it’s just that they come off as overly authoritative, domineering and sales-driven.
Instead, regardless of industry, companies would be wise to exercise a bit of creativity while crafting a series of brand attributes from which virtually all marketing materials are to be derived. For example, consider the brand attributes used during Skittles’ “Taste the Rainbow” campaign. The campaign may have been slightly irreverent and off-the-wall, but consumers responded positively to Skittles’ genuine marketing approach.
If you’re struggling to understand how to leverage your core values, there’s no shame in turning to a marketing agency for assistance. The best marketing professionals can help you come up with an effective strategy to display what makes your brand truly unique.
2) Build a Solid Base of Brand Advocates
The real beauty behind brand authenticity, though? After months of brand-specific patience, determination and hard work, you’ll start to notice that you’re not the only one pushing your company’s products and services; moreover, a loyal band of brand advocates will start to do some of the heavy lifting for you. Simply put, this is digital marketing efficiency at its finest.
Think about it—once you’ve managed to successfully drive traffic, engage a niche audience and then convert the bulk of said audience into paying customers, those who have had a positive experience with your company will happily bring family members and friends onboard, as well.
Even better, when you and your team release a new product or service, your army of advocates re-enters your sales funnel as yet another wave of hot leads. The exponential power is incredible. The catch, though? Brand advocates only vie for something they know is constant. Does this sound like your company? If not, yesterday was the time to make the necessary adjustments.
3) Look to Content Marketing for Answers
As opposed to force-feeding customers a wide variety of drab sales materials, content marketing seeks to provide something of legitimate value for its various audiences. Whether it be education, entertainment, breaking news or humor, content marketing focuses first on individual people and second on corporate branding messages.
Naturally, it will be your team’s job to ensure that the honest side of your business’ personality shines through when content is being brainstormed, created and published. Working with a marketing agency can help you find a way to personalize your brand experience for your customers so you can be a “people-first” company.
Take Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign as an ideal illustration of how this is to be done. Coke went well out of its way to make it known that the company isn’t just about sales—it’s about personalization. In this case, the content just so happens to be on the side of a can or bottle.
Your Turn to Comment
Having taken into consideration both why brand authenticity is important and how to use it to your company’s advantage, the time is now yours. Do you agree or disagree with the importance of brand authenticity? If so, what examples have you seen? If not, what’s your reasoning? Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter and let us know.