In 2022 building a business is more than what it used to be; now, it’s more about building a brand.
And building a brand means building trust, community, and most importantly, authenticity.
Recent studies by Nielson show that 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them and that loyalty comes from feeling a genuine connection to the brand itself.
And at the core of connection is brand authenticity.
What is Brand Authenticity
Being authentic is an action that reverberates through every touchpoint of your business.
And if that vibe is off, oh boy, is it obvious.
It’s described as transparency, consistency, and honesty that drive brand values and key initiatives across all messaging. Authenticity (link to PART 1) is the backbone of any brand and should feel aligned with who that brand, and its customers, truly are.
Being authentic and transparent helps bring your brand connection, community, and business to life in a fundamental and long-term way.
How Can Brand Authenticity Transform Your Business?
The Harvard Business Review consumer studies show that truly connected customers are more loyal and 52% more valuable to a business than those that are not. Creating that loyalty comes from an authentic connection to the brand and its values, and those loyal customers also share about your business over and over again.
This is called word-of-mouth lead generation, and it is invaluable marketing that can’t be bought. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 people make purchases based on recommendations alone.
Being authentic, trustworthy, and connected to your customers play a crucial role across three key channels of your overarching business plan:
- Brand Messaging: how you speak about your brand, customers, competitors, products, and purpose. Messaging not only tells your customers how you’re different but also allows them to talk about why you are different. Messaging keeps you relatable and connected to your audience.
- Brand Identity: how your brand strategy is conveyed through visuals, personality, tone, and design. Your brand identity must be aligned with your messaging, purpose, and values, creating a succinct ‘brand personality.’
- Branded Marketing: marketing is the how behind connecting brands with their customers. Marketing carries your messaging and identity to your audience through your website, UX, social media, advertising, and email campaigns.
Top 5 Tips for Creating Brand Authenticity
Being authentic in your branding, voice, and messaging should feel seamless and easy to implement. Here are our top tips for making sure that your brand authenticity resonates:
1. Get super clear on your FUNDAMENTALS:
Being authentic comes from your purpose as a brand and the difference you hope to make in people’s lives. How do you know what that is? You ask the honest questions, give honest answers, and create your fundamentals from there:
- Why did you start your business?
- Why are you different?
- Why should people care?
- What problem are you solving?
Defining these markers first will help create who your brand is and who it’s for. Knowing your brand and your customer will make authentic connections through shared interests, passions, and personalities, ultimately driving long-term loyalty.
2. Get super clear on your WHY:
This is otherwise known as The Golden Circle, a theory made famous by Simon Sinek’s renowned appearance on Ted Talk.
According to Sinke, there are three key parts to the golden circle that will help to identify your brand’s purpose, values, and messaging, and the ultimate WHY, from the inside-out:
- What – what are the products or services you offer to your customers, and how are they solving a problem?
- How – how are you differentiating your brand from the competition, and how are you better?
- Why – the above two will help to form your why, the reason you are passionate, and why you exist
3. Get super clear on your VALUES:
What does your brand stand for? What social causes is your business passionate about? What values does your brand back with its messaging, personality, and voice? What are you going to use your platform to do?
With as many as 50% of consumers reporting purchase behavior tied to a company’s values, standing for something really means something in 2022 – and you can’t afford to miss the mark. Strong values will connect you to your customers, your community, and to your place in the industry.
4. Get super REAL:
Be transparent and be real, even if it doesn’t always feel great. Nearly 88% of customers report reading online reviews before making a purchase, which means they read the good and the bad. If your business only replied to the good, it speaks volumes to your customers.
Bad reviews, negative feedback, or rough waters should be confronted head-on with tact and urgency.
Be transparent, honest, and accountable regardless of what is being thrown your way. Responding to negative feedback gives you the opportunity to correct and solve problems as they happen and a way to contribute to the narrative.
5. Get super clear on your customers’ NEEDS:
Connect with your customers by knowing their needs inside and out. Survey, question, respond and interact in a real way in real-time to get the most insight into your customers and their needs.
Solve problems, connect and create messaging that reflects your real customers as real people.
And honorary …
6. Call StellaPop … because being authentic is our middle name, and we can help make it yours too.