You may ask yourself, what’s so important about being authentic? The answer is one word ‘relatable’. When consumers perceive your brand as authentic, then they feel comfortable putting their trust in you. Given the fast nature of the digital landscape today, it may seem like you can learn to be authentic on the fly, but the only thing you’re learn is how to come off as phony. Creating an authentic brand needs to be cultivated, well planned and executed. To help you, we’ve made a list of branding strategies to follow.
Use branding strategies that suit your business
It’s fairly easy to do a quick Google search on branding strategies that cultivate an authentic brand and pick the best ones from successful case studies, however, “following someone else’s lead usually causes a company to stray from its own brand identity,” says brand-building expert Denise Lee Yohn in this Entrepreneur article discussing Levi’s brand authenticity. The company’s brand consultant Shawn Parr adds that Levi’s does so well because they are comfortable being in their own skin. Levi’s needs to ensure that they don’t try too hard or come off as something they’re aren’t, which is a lesson your brand can take home as well.
Engage in dialogue
When brands do nothing else, but talk about their achievements and what makes them special, it’s off-putting for customers, they need to engage with customers and gain valuable insight from them. Not only saying that our customers are important to us, but actually proving it is what will make you stand out. To achieve this you need to take the time to get to know them. There’s no shortcut for achieving this. You need to actively listen to them. When you know more about your customers you can create an appealing company culture and reflect values that appeal to them.
Share your passions with the world and your unique company mission. Think about what drives you. Cultivate a purpose for your business that goes beyond wanting to make money. A brand is deemed authentic not only because of its ingrown culture, but also by the nature of the relationship they have with their customers.
In 1982 the Johnson & Johnson brand took a major blow when seven people died in Chicago after someone had tampered with their Tylenol bottles. What’s important to note is that the company acted quickly and handled the crisis well by keeping the public informed providing a hotline to consumers to call the company, they inspected their factory to be sure the problem didn’t originate there and recalled all bottles on the shelf at the time. The company showed the public that they weren’t willing to put the public’s safety in jeopardy even if it would be expensive. What your customers care most about is that you provide open and honest conversations about your company and the products or services you offer.
Believe in your story
Often businesses have a powerful storyline and don’t put it to good use. Imagine if the world didn’t know Apple’s origin story, would they treat the company differently? Consumers want to see your heartfelt declaration of why your company exits. If you don’t believe in your company why should anyone else?
Bear in mind that authenticity grows over time. Trust is not earned overnight. The key is to be consistent; in what you do, say and advertise.
Image Credit: Creative Digest