As the online world becomes louder and more crowded, it’s becoming more important to practice authenticity in marketing. Beyond products and services, audiences want to connect with the brands they love on a deeper level.
Brands that practice authenticity in marketing are being intentionally true to the heart of their brand and its message. Gone are the days of growing your platform with canned marketing techniques and recycled, generic messaging. Now, customers do business with companies that share their values, represent themselves as they truly are, and support causes they are about.
Let’s look at what it means to be authentic as a brand, and why that matters for your marketing.
What Does It Mean to Practice Authenticity in Marketing?
Being authentic means that you are real and genuine. When you shake it all down, authenticity means you’re being true to who you are as a brand. You’re presenting yourself and your brand from a place of sincerity and genuineness. And, you’re doing so in order to create real connections with your audience.
As an authentic brand, you know your target market, what they value, and why they seek you out. You don’t invest in marketing gimmicks to hook consumers who aren’t in your target audience because you understand that violates your audience’s trust. Additionally, you understand that being authentic means building and maintaining that trust.
Not sure where to start tapping into your authenticity as a brand? Consider the traits of authentic people: nonjudgmental, welcoming, honest, teachable, expressive, and considerate. If you’re looking to make your brand more authentic, start by asking whether your brand represents those traits. Then, identify where you can begin making adjustments.
Building trust with your audience creates loyal followers and customers who will return to your content or products over and over. As a result, you’ll grow a community around your brand that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Leveraging Authenticity to Stand Out
These days, brands need to go above and beyond strong marketing. Authenticity can boost your visibility among your existing audience, while also attracting new customers in the process.
According to a recent email statistics report by Radicati, the average user sent and received about 293.6 emails per day in 2019. Of those emails, an estimated 121 of those emails were from businesses. Although email marketing is incredibly effective, the sheer volume of emails we receive each day make it easy to miss messaging from our favorite brands, especially if they’re using common marketing lingo or boilerplate copy.
Once a consumer has seen the same approach to marketing from different brands, over and over, they become unaffected by it. Because of this, it becomes easy to overlook emails and social media posts that utilize that angle. Essentially, users become numb to familiar strategies. But when a brand is practicing intentional authenticity, they’re more likely to catch a user’s attention.
Today’s consumers are also on the lookout for brands that embody values similar to their own. They prefer to support companies they identify with on a deeper level than simply purchasing a product they like. In particular, Millennials have been widely associated with the practice of buying what a brand values, rather than a particular product. Consumers expect brands to share in their desire to make the world a better place to live, work, and do business.
Additionally, users instinctively know when a brand is not being true to itself. They can spot discrepancies between the brand’s words and actions (whether that’s a personal or corporate brand), and they’re quick to not only call out inauthenticity but to call their friends’ attention to it, too. Brands can’t hide behind a facade for long, because their audience is more likely to draw attention to it and hold them accountable for making positive changes.
How to Make Your Brand Voice Authentic
Making your brand voice more authentic is one of the most important keys to authenticity in marketing. Conversational marketing is one strategy you can use to keep your interactions with your audience down-to-earth. Remain focused on leveling with your followers, and personalize those connections wherever you can.
Be up-front with your audience, tell them exactly who you are and what you stand for, then show them consistently that you mean what you say. Don’t talk down to them or use jargon-filled language that keeps them from fully engaging in the conversation. Instead, help them feel like they’re having a conversation with a trusted friend who really gets them (but make sure you really do get your followers, because they’ll figure it out quickly if you don’t).
In addition, being transparent about the causes and philanthropic initiatives you support can help you connect on a deeper level with your audience. Communicating about the charitable work your company does, for example, can be a strategy as long as it’s a cause you truly care about. Anything less will be obvious to your followers.
Maintaining Audience Trust Through Authenticity
Authenticity in marketing extends beyond your campaigns and into every touchpoint of your business. You must be consistently transparent and true to your brand values across the board.
Here are some places where your brand should be authentically represented:
- Your website. Represent your brand authentically through the copy and brand visuals you choose. You should also tell your audience everything they need to know about who you are and what you stand for. A strong About Us page, transparent costs and fees, and a solid FAQ section are a great place to start.
- Your social media presence. Every interaction you have with your social media followers, whether public or via a private social messaging app, should be true to your brand. The internet is forever, and even one off-base remark or response could hurt the trust you’ve established with your audience. All it takes is one screenshot to damage your credibility. Keep your interactions helpful and friendly, and don’t respond to trolls.
- Your team. Make sure your team members represent and maintain your brand’s authenticity in marketing. Sales representatives, customer support personnel, and other brand representatives should all be on board with your brand values and how you interact with customers. Just like social media, even one poor interaction with a company representative can be hard to overcome.
When practiced correctly, authenticity in marketing helps you stand out in an otherwise loud market. Authenticity is a powerful tool for forging genuine connections with your audience and building trust.
Remember, many consumers care about a brand’s values and the causes they support. In addition to being true to your voice and who you are, leverage transparency to show your audience your values. As long as you consistently present your authentic brand with sincerity, you’ll be able to create genuine, lasting connections with loyal customers.
Featured image via Visual Generation / shutterstock.com