Consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to knowing what they want from their favorite brands. They know that brands can be an important source of change and trendsetting, but they also know how to spot a “fake” when they see it.
The average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 advertisements each day. As a result, many people have learned how to tune out ads that don’t seem authentic – and the brands that go with them.
Instead of throwing traditional advertisements and marketing strategies out there, brands must focus on their business’s story, culture, and personality.
It’s time to be as transparent as possible with your marketing efforts. In doing so, you’ll come across as more authentic to your audience and build a more loyal customer base in the process.
But, how should you do it?
The Era of Authenticity
First, we must understand why being authentic is so important in today’s marketing age. The biggest reason? Trust.
People tend to be more hesitant about brands today as digital marketing has made it easy for almost any business to create legitimate-looking advertisements, only for consumers to end up feeling duped by their products or services.
One study found that 90% of consumers are looking for authenticity when it comes to the brands they’ll support. The days of solely relying on traditional advertising and marketing techniques are gone. While those strategies still have a place, people need to be able to trust your brand before they’ll believe your ads.
Authentic marketing has many benefits. In addition to winning over more customers, it’s a great way to express your values and purpose as a business. Not only can that improve your company culture, but it can make your brand more attractive to prospective employees. Plus, consumers want to connect with and understand your brand values. Being forthright with them will always earn you more praise than keeping your company purpose and views obscure.
Heavy-hitters like Coca-Cola, Mastercard, and Disney make up some of the most authentic brands in the world. Disney, for example, tends to take the opposite route to many traditional marketing strategies. They focus on telling a story that will resonate with their audience. And, it's a smart move. This approach is more convincing than listing facts and statistics, evokes positive feelings towards the brand, and makes the brand unique.
So, how can you make sure your brand is just as authentic and trustworthy?
Start From Within
Building a workplace environment that accurately represents your values, ethics, and personality is imperative. After all, it's not only audiences that you must convince of your authenticity. Taking the time to construct a positive work environment is crucial for employee retention, advocacy, and your bottom line.
Of course, creating a more positive work environment may be easier said than done - but it's not impossible! Start by considering areas that need the most attention. Encourage your employees to be honest about the current culture's strengths and areas for improvement, and build from there. Some of the most effective ways to improve company culture include:
- Prioritizing training
- Conducting regular check-ins
- Making sure to establish a comfortable environment
- Encouraging open communication
- Facilitating opportunities for learning and growth
Remember: it’s also key to let your employees know their value and worth. Workplace microaggressions can cause a number of problems - even if they aren’t intentional. Make sure none of your employees are feeling threatened or criticized by others. By checking in frequently and making sure they know you care, they’re more likely to give back with productivity, loyalty, and brand advocacy.
Understand Your Audience
Once you’ve established a brand culture you’re proud to show off, make sure you do it in a way that truly connects with your target audience. Sometimes, even the best brands can seem a little tone-deaf when it comes to their marketing. And, it's all because they haven't taken the time to understand what drives their audience, their pain points, and what solutions they are seeking.
If you want to be authentic with your marketing, don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience directly. Try things like:
- Conducting market research
- Analyzing your customer base
- Looking at competitors
- Creating user personas
- filtering out irrelevant audiences
The more you understand your audience, the easier it will be to connect with them, build relationships, and drive meaningful marketing campaigns. Create content that will resonate, drive your message home, and drive audiences to act. And, don't worry, it's not as hard as it seems. Utilize social media platforms to gain valuable information regarding your audience. With this information in hand, you'll guarantee that your messaging is authentic to your brand and hits home every time.
One of the most important aspects of being authentic with your marketing is not allowing yourself to become stagnant. Frequently check in with your employees and your audience to determine where they stand and what they expect from you.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Be it a startup, small business, medium, or even industry giant, becoming stagnant in your messaging can be a huge downfall. In this digital age, thousands of new companies pop up daily, competing for consumer attention. So, ensuring you're delivering consistent and authentic messaging is vital. However, posting for the sake of posting can also do more harm than good.
So, how can you go around this? By asking for help! Don’t be shy about checking in with your employees and audience to determine where they stand and what they expect. Ask how you can improve and deliver - all the while demonstrating the more humanistic side of your business.
Taking these steps will help build trust and make your brand more transparent to your loyal customers and those on the fence.
If you’ve been struggling with your marketing strategy or you’re not sure why your brand has been sluggish lately, it could be a lack of authenticity. Consider revamping your priorities as a company, and showing your target audience, as well as your internal culture, how you truly want to define your brand.
Doing so will go a long way in helping your business stand out from competitors. It will also give you lasting power that will boost word-of-mouth advertising and loyalty for years to come.
Need some help with your branding? Contact us today to find out how we can help you showcase your true and authentic brand.
Guest author: Luke Smith
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he has been trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or getting into the latest tech.