If you’ve read our article on The Psychology Of Consumer Behavior, you already know that in this age of digital enlightenment, consumers have become bona fide brand detectives. They may not know what goes on behind the scenes, but they sure know how to spot a fake brand from a mile away.
What exactly is brand authenticity?
The genuine representation of a brand! Brand authenticity is the sum of a brand’s values, purpose, identity, and beliefs, served up without any camouflage. Consumers are no longer content with surface-level marketing fluff – they want the real deal. They want to align themselves with brands that not only talk the talk but walk the walk.
Why do we care about brand authenticity?
According to Stackla, an impressive 88% of folks out there insist that authenticity matters, and half of them say it’s as crucial as a morning cup of coffee. If a brand isn’t proactively positioning itself to build authenticity, it risks becoming another generic company no buyer sticks to.
Now, here’s the super delicious part: when consumers discover a brand that vibes with their beliefs and values, they’re not just swiping right for a one-night stand. No, they’re falling in love, they’re committing, and they’re becoming brand groupies.
So let’s dive into how to craft an authentic brand!
Share your story
Now, let’s get personal. Your story is the not so secret ingredient that sets your business apart from just another brand. Crafting and sharing your brand’s story is more than just a feel-good exercise; it’s a strategic move that builds a deeper connection with your audience.
Research shows that consumers aren’t just picking up products or services; they’re investing in the values and stories tied to a brand. A captivating brand story not only makes you unique but also puts a human touch on your business, turning it into something relatable and authentic for your audience.
Strong brands always have a mission behind them, whether as simple as wanting to bring a smile to people’s faces or as grand as saving the environment. So, why not share the tale of how your brand came to life and why you’re on this adventure in the first place? Add it to your home page, spill it all over your blog, and talk about it on your social media pages.
In the digital age, it’s incredibly easy to churn out blog posts, e-mails, e-books, newsletters (by the way, promo break – did you subscribe to our newsletter?), and all sorts of digital content to engage with your clients. But here’s the thing: when ideas for such content go through a conveyor belt from concept to completion, it can get a little…messy. The end result? Inconsistent messaging. So, why is consistency so crucial? Well, delivering inconsistent messages can leave your customers scratching their heads and wondering if your brand has a split personality.
Consistency in your digital content is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a strategic necessity. It ensures that your brand voice remains clear and cohesive across various channels, making it easier for your audience to understand and connect with your message.
Keep in mind that when your audience knows what to expect from you, they are more likely to trust your brand and become repeat customers.
Add social proof
Let’s face it; people trust people. It’s in our DNA. And social proof adds a human touch to your marketing.
Now, why is social proof so impactful? It adds a genuine, human touch to your marketing efforts. When potential customers see positive feedback from others who have tried and tested your product or service, it builds credibility and trust. It’s like having your brand vouched for by a friend in the know.
That’s why I like to say that social proof is like your brand’s mandatory entourage.
Let’s break down the components of this entourage:
Reviews. Positive reviews act as word-of-mouth recommendations in the digital age. Encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences on platforms like Google, Yelp, or your website.
Social Media Posts. Happy customers sharing their experiences on social media platforms not only humanize your brand but also expose your positive attributes to a wider audience.
Case Studies. These in-depth success stories showcase how your product or service made a tangible impact on a customer’s life or business. They provide a deeper understanding of your brand’s value.
Whether it’s your website, landing pages, or social media posts, give people a reason to say, “This brand? Oh, I’ve heard awesome things about them!”
We’ve covered how to make your brand feel and talk authentically, but what about the way you interact with your customers? If you want to build an authentically strong brand, you already know from our Ethical Marketing article, that you’ve got to live by the “open book” philosophy.
Living by the “open book” philosophy means being transparent and honest, even when things don’t go as planned. It’s about acknowledging that, yes, every brand messes up at some point. The key is not in avoiding mistakes but in how you handle them.
You’ve probably heard more about brands breaking this rule than sticking to it. A brand makes a blunder, and then they play hide and seek. Or, worse yet, they act like nothing ever happened. The truth is every brand messes up. All you need to do when you make your next goof, is keep your customers in the loop and apologize for the inconvenience.
Listen as much as you speak
When you’re out there marketing your brand, it’s a common pitfall to get caught up in the act of talking about yourself. However, let’s be real – it’s not just harder, but it’s also way more crucial to lend an ear to what your customers are saying about your brand.
You can employ various audience research methods, like surveys and social listening, to gather customer feedback. Pay attention to what your customers say about your product. If they have concerns, address them where you can. It’s like the customer service golden rule: treat your customers the way you’d want to be treated.
Partner with authentic influencers
Selecting an influencer should be like matchmaking – find someone who aligns with your brand’s values and views. Teaming up with the wrong person could hurt your brand image and send the wrong message to your audience.
So, before you commit, do your homework! Check out an influencer’s social media pages and the content they dish out. Is it consistently in line with your brand’s values? If it’s a yes, you might have found your influencer soulmate. If not, swipe left and keep searching.
Once you’ve found someone who gets your brand, think about collaboration in a way that’s not just a promo but adds real value to your audience. It’s not just about pushing your product; it’s about creating content that resonates with your shared audience and aligns seamlessly with your brand’s mission.
Don’t be afraid to get political
Now, let’s talk about a topic that’s been the elephant in the room for a long time – politics.
Back in the day, companies mostly steered clear of the political arena, only a daring few dipped their toes in. But hold onto your hats because in today’s world, brands are not just raising their voices; they’re stepping into the ring, shaking foundations, and taking big, bold stances on issues like gun violence, gender equality, and climate change. And you know what? Consumers are absolutely loving it!
Based on a stack of surveys, it turns out that when brands step into the political ring, a crowd of cheering fans gathers. Sure, it might ruffle a few feathers among those who disagree, but you’ll find your tribe of customers who admire your boldness and support your cause.
Collaborate with other brands
You know what they say, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Brands should take that to heart, even if it means joining hands with the arch-nemesis brand from the other side of the tracks.
Here’s the insider scoop: consumers appreciate it when brands set aside their differences for a greater good. It shows a level of maturity and a commitment to something beyond the bottom line. Think about those iconic duos like Batman and Superman – they might have their disagreements, but when the world is in trouble, they team up to save the day.
Take a moment to think about what really matters. Whether it’s environmental sustainability, social justice, or community welfare, teaming up with a brand that shares your values can magnify your impact. It’s a win-win, not just for your brands but for the causes you champion.
No matter how you choose to build your brand’s authenticity, keep it as close to your heart as that secret family recipe. Remember, authenticity isn’t about putting on a show; it’s about staying true to your beliefs.
And if you ever find yourself in need of a helping hand in your branding journey, just think of us at JOCstudio as your branding buddies. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or fill out this form, and we’ll swoop in to save the day – cape and all!