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Authenticity is such a buzzword these days that it has almost lost all meaning! The dictionary literally defines the word authentic as: “not counterfeit or copied; genuine; genuine”, yet so many people are desperate for people’s help to appear authentic.
Does it run counter to that word to make someone else seem authentic to you? But isn’t marketing by nature the opposite of authentic? So, how on earth do you provide authenticity in your marketing and branding?!
Related: Do you come across as authentic?
Why authenticity matters
Let’s face it, we live in a world where people are becoming increasingly skeptical about brands and simply don’t know who to trust because marketing has gotten so smart.
In a recent article in AdWeekhas the global agency Havas the results of their Meaningful Brand Survey, and the results were terrifying. People said they wouldn’t care if 75% of brands disappeared, and 71% of customers are tired of brands’ empty promises. Also, 64% of people would pay more for brands that have a purpose rather than profit.
The world has completely changed since the pandemic, and brands are now putting pressure on them more than ever to show people that they really care about them. So, why is authenticity important in business? Well, it’s all about trust. It’s now a lot harder to gain a consumer’s trust, and the well-polished marketing messages just don’t get through like they used to.
Brands that show their ‘real’ side not only see an increase in sales, but also attract better talent. A research conducted by the Org showed that 80% of millennials said their work would be better if their business was more transparent.
Related: How to Build an Authentic Brand
How companies can be authentic in marketing
Companies now have to completely change their marketing strategy. What was once the norm – requesting huge advertising budgets and celebrity endorsement – is now frowned upon by many. So, how do companies adapt and show authenticity in marketing?
First… just tell the truth. That’s what authenticity is at the end of the day. We’re not saying you should disclose financial reports and disclose every corporate drama, but don’t lie to your consumers. These things always have a way out, and the negative PR that comes from such episodes is just too hard to get back from.
Honesty is almost always the best policy, and your consumers will thank you for it. A little humility when things aren’t as perfect as they usually are is not a sign of weakness. It just shows that you are human. You will be surprised how many people will support you on this journey.
Look how much of a shift there has been to helping small businesses since the pandemic – there’s a huge sense of community when people are going through tough times, and this wouldn’t have happened if people hadn’t been honest about how things were For real to go. Here are a few more ways companies can demonstrate authenticity in marketing:
Stay true to the brand: Whatever you do, you have to stay true to your brand. So many people try to capitalize on a trend, because it has worked for competitors, or they recruit the latest reality TV star as their brand ambassador, because they are “the hottest thing right now.” But think about whether these trends or people are really right for your brand. Picking the wrong person can actually adversely affect your brand, so do your research on their background and make sure your values align.
Show them you care: You may really care about your customers and talk about it internally all the time, but you may not be communicating it enough in your external communications. This could be as simple as a loyalty discount or a free gift with a purchase, but the little things will mean a lot.
Listen to your customers: At the end of the day, they are the ones buying your product/service, so listen to the feedback they give and don’t get defensive. Admit when you’re wrong and announce improvements to your product/service based on customer feedback. It shows your customers that you are really there for it them.
Use data analytics for your marketing: The beauty of digital marketing is that you have the luxury of statistics and analytics to help you do your job better. Back up what you do with data, instead of doing things in an overly promotional way. Make sure you have a reason for all your marketing messages.
Related: How Authentic Marketing Is Key To Building A Loyal Audience
How entrepreneurs can be authentic on social media
Another big topic I often talk about is how entrepreneurs can introduce authenticity into their personal brand. I’ve often found this one quite intriguing, because your ‘personal’ brand is just that – personal. So it should already be authentic. The problem is that it has now become an ‘art’, and the personal brand is just like any other form of marketing. So, how can entrepreneurs stay authentic on social media without being too “cringe”?
The beauty of the toptecheasy.com’s life is that it is fast-paced, exciting, and full of stories and lessons learned. My advice is to share those lessons/stories. Ignore what everyone else is doing and what messages are going viral on LinkedIn, because they are short-lived. You’ll just fade into the huge pool of other entrepreneurs doing the same thing if you get caught up in trends.
Share your personal travels, but be sure to keep it “real” and don’t approach it with the intention of “going viral” or making a sob story because people get annoyed by that kind of content. Try writing social media material the same way you would tell a friend what happened during your catch-up session, and it will come across as authentic and genuine — and people will thank you for it.