They say fake it till you make it… But this isn’t the case in business. No matter the circumstances, you have to be real and have to create an experience that feels authentic. The impression people have of your brand is what will make or break you. It’s hard to recover once your brand is viewed as a scam or fake.
In a nutshell, authenticity for a brand means standing by its values and morals while still divulging its practices in an honest way. When hearing about your brand, people need to picture reliability, respect, and trust. To ensure your brand positioned as real, authentic, and compelling to prospects, here are a few best practices:
Create and Cultivate Chemistry with Your Customers
You can’t do it alone. Your customers should play a major role. Customers and potential customers are the real audiences and what you give to them determines your brand positioning and public reputation. To ensure you get them involved, you can:
– Include the community in the process. As I said, you’re building and doing everything for them. Include a sample of your target customers and get their feedback. Make your team part of the process too.
Chobani does it right. Their mission is to “bring high-quality yogurt to more people and create positive change in our country’s food culture” by involving the community in their yogurt creation process. The company’s devotion includes giving up to 10% of the company to its employees has branded itself as authentic and honest in the market.
– Social media feedback. Social media made everything easier and now with just a click of a button, you can get all the information you need. Don’t just look at what people are saying about your brand, engage them, and get their opinions. Keep them engaged. Follow relevant conversations where your customers chat and you can even participate too. You don’t have to shout about your brand wherever you go, but you can slowly and positively direct the conversation.
If you’re a smaller (or newer) brand, let’s be real… Most likely, people aren’t talking about you (at least not yet). That doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about your industry, competitors, and other valuable insights. Tune in!
– Gifts and promotions. Who doesn’t like gifts and freebies? To get people talking about your brand or engage in the best way possible, incentivize them. This doesn’t have to be something that breaks the bank. One basic example is using a lead magnet in exchange for an email sign up for your newsletter. Most people don’t want to give out personal information and fear that you’re just going to spam their inbox with promotional material. Instead of asking for an email with nothing to give in exchange, come up with an ebook that is filled with tips and value. In order to download it, they will have to give their email.
Keep your brand promise
Remember you have a vision and mission. You also probably have a slogan you operate under. Don’t shift when things are tough and don’t be afraid to address something that may be negative or a misconception about your industry. Look at Patagonia. Look at their core values and mission statement and compare them with what they do. They have stuck with them and even managed to do more. Here’s an example:
Their worn wear program educates customers on how they can make their clothes last longer as well as allow them to buy and sell used ones. Trust me, this is the best deal that makes people pause when Patagonia is mentioned. The brand gave a promise to keep the environment safe, and they did exactly that. The fact that they were not selfish but did as promised saw to it that the following year (2012), their revenues went up by around 30%.
How relevant and innovative is your company? All businesses have their own storms but what matters is how you counter that. We’re in a digital era especially with the effects of Covid-19. If you only have a physical location, it’s time to take your online presence seriously and make your information and services available from anywhere. Don’t give people the impression that you can only be reliable when the sea is calm.
Look at how the National Basketball Association (NBA) managed to stay relevant. They took advantage of technology and technological devices and decided to move to e-sports, from the traditional sports league. And how effective has that been? In 2018, their subscribers grew by 63% and they managed to break the attendance record.
Your company can show its authenticity via digital channels by:
Using testimonials — This is underrated but it works. You can also use reviews by prominent people or companies you have interacted with, to show (rather than tell) that people trust and recommend your brand.
Showing what you have done — People need proof. If you have promised to give the best app, let it show using things like visuals, ranking, and stats.
Using paid ads — Give marketers details and clips of the best you’ve achieved, relevant to your mission, vision, and values. Let them speak it out for you.