In the modern marketplace, the meaning of your brand lies in the mind of the customer. Sure, customers will always consider price, quality, and convenience when making purchasing decisions. But now they also take into account what a brand stands for before they decide to buy. Therefore, in order to build a sustainable and marketable brand, you need to build your brand on strong values. Your brand needs to have authenticity.
What is brand authenticity?
A brand’s authenticity comes together through integrity, honesty, transparency, consistency and passion. An authentic brand knows who they are and what they stand for. They have internalised their values.
According to Simon Sinek, the importance and value of being authentic is in your brand’s long-term interest.
“Every decision we make in our lives, as individuals or as organisations is a piece of communication. It’s our way of saying something about who we are and what we believe. This is why authenticity matters. This is why you have to say and do the things you actually believe because the things you say and do are symbols of who you are and we look for those symbols so that we can find people who believe what we believe. So if you’re putting out false symbols, you will attract people to those symbols but you won’t be able to form trust.”
An article published on Frontify suggests that the cultural move towards authenticity is brought upon us by Millennials.
With Millennials fast becoming the most influential consumer sector, driving consumer behaviour across generations, marketers should understand that traditional advertising is not having the impact it used to. Fuelled by a desire to connect with things that feel safe and certain, Millennials are on a relentless quest, looking for brands that walk the walk, engaging with brands that are having an honest conversation.
This is evident, as authenticity correlates strongly with key business drivers. Brands see the impact of authenticity through an increase in ROI, more loyal customers, organic brand ambassadors, increased profit margins and generating of organic, shareable content.
The PR firm, Cohn & Wolfe did a research survey, ranking companies according to their authenticity. They surveyed 12 000 consumers across 14 markets, rating authenticity according to reliability, respectfulness, and reality.
Their findings showed that global cynicism is high with 4.5 consumers stating brands are not open and honest and rated authenticity above innovation in importance. 91% of consumers rated honesty about products the most important, while 73% of consumers would buy from authentic brands above brands they don’t trust.
Marketing managers that are building an authentic brand need to keep in mind that building authenticity is a long-term commitment. Focus on these five brand building principles to create brand authenticity:
- Build long-term relationships
- Be consistent
- Engage in a conversation with your audience
- Stay true to your values
- Be honest and transparent
With low consumer trust across industries, trust and authenticity have become the most important brand attributes consumers are looking for. But as with people, you can’t force a brand personality’s authenticity to sound genuine. Just be yourself, and let your brand be itself too.
How authentic your brand is? Click here to rate your brand authenticity on the Perceived Authenticity Scale.