Gone are the days when consumers were impressed just by the quality and availability of a product or service …
Welcome to the age of endless (and we mean endless) options, access, and excess at every turn. Consumers are inundated and overwhelmed with decisions, day-in-and-day-out, ultimately changing how those decisions are made and where the value is placed.
In 2022, quality isn’t enough; luxury isn’t enough, and access isn’t enough. In fact, above all, the only thing that is enough is your brand authenticity (in addition to the rest) in order to stand out and grow.
And being authentic as a brand is a whole new ball game.
What is Brand Authenticity?
Building, growing and maintaining a strong business critically relies on strong brand foundations. Beyond having a great product, foundations are your brand’s voice, integrity, transparency, and – you guessed it – authenticity.
Authenticity is deep, referring to how you connect with your consumers on a meaningful level and how you manage that loyalty once you have it. Authenticity crosses every touchpoint of your business from the first touchpoint to the last.
Research shows that 90% of customers looked to a brand’s authenticity as an important factor in deciding where to buy. Customers are researching, reviewing, and discussing brands before committing. They look for that genuine connection and to have their needs authentically met.
Brand authenticity is ultimately a powerful commitment to shining from the inside out, not just telling your consumers that you are authentic, but showing them.
Why is Brand Authenticity So Important to Consumers?
Authentic brands know their audience, their needs, what they value, and why. Consumers aren’t investing in gimmicks or empty promises and are loyal to brands that connect with them on ethical and emotional levels.
Building a strong foundation of trust with quality products, a clear voice, and philanthropic efforts helps build loyalty and connection in an authentic way. Customers want brands that embody similar values, morals, habits, and social causes, ultimately driving purchase behavior and long-term loyalty.
According to recent studies, Millennials buy brand value above anything else, and value always boils down to real, authentic connections, and the millennial market is many millions strong.
What Does Brand Authenticity Look Like?
So what does it look like for a brand to be authentic? Well, quite a lot like it does for everyday people, just with a little extra oomph.
According to Psychology Today, there are seven core values of authentic people, brands, and businesses:
- Have realistic perceptions of reality.
- Are accepting of themselves and of other people.
- Are thoughtful.
- Have a non-hostile sense of humor.
- Can express their emotions freely and clearly.
- Are open to learning from their mistakes.
- Understand their motivations.
Brands and businesses can easily compare their marketing efforts, tone of voice, customer experience, and more against this set of standards and begin to adjust or highlight accordingly.
The Three Fundamentals of Brand Authenticity
There are three key avenues of communication that allow brand authenticity to take shape, and a clear, strategic, authentic marketing plan should flow through them effortlessly:
1. Brand Voice
Your tone of voice matters – always.
Most well-connected brands now turn to Conversational Marketing to set the stage, looking to speak with consumers as if they are close friends. Conversational marketing looks to understand customer needs first, then make recommendations to meet those needs in an authentic way. This is often facilitated through email marketing, social media, marketing campaigns, and AI.
Your brand voice should flow across all channels, efforts, and touchpoints with customers, pushing out any jargon, filler, or fluff that feels inauthentic.
2. Brand Transparency
One of the easiest ways we can connect with consumers and businesses (or each other) is through vulnerability and honesty. Being transparent across all channels further builds the connection consumers feel to your business, products, services, or brand. Being present isn’t in anymore, but being authentic, vulnerable, transparent, and authentic is.
As a brand, tell your audience exactly who you are, what you stand for, why you stand for it, and what you do about it … and then be very, very consistent in the future.
3. Brand Integrity
Brand Integrity means that you mean what you say and say what you mean. It means standing for something and following through. Recent research shows that having the same values and social causes at heart helps to reinforce a strong connection to customers and customers to brands, further building loyalty and authentic connections through causes.
The trick with integrity is not to fake it. Find social causes, charities, and efforts that genuinely reflect the brand’s values and standards and are true to the heart of your business. Your customers will know immediately you’re faking it ‘till you make it.
How to Create Fluid Brand Authenticity
Authenticity should reach across all touchpoints of your brand and should highlight some of your fundamental values, which include:
- Website: Authentic messaging through your web copy, sales pages, product pages, and through the checkout process should be easy, fluid, and totally in line with who your brand is.
- Messaging: using a fluid tone of voice across EDMs, social media, newsletters, websites, and all other marketing collateral to reinforce a strong brand personality and clear brand value.
- Your Team: How your team connects and communicates is a direct extension of your brand or business and should accurately reflect what you stand for. Using the same language, information and support are fundamental in creating a strong brand personality.
Ready to feel like your most authentic self in business andWe’vend? We’ve got something for that
Connect with StellaPop now and stay tuned for Part 2!