What is Authentic Marketing And Why Does It Matter in Branding?
As a small business, following marketing trends can be an overwhelming task that usually gets stuck on the back burner. If you incorporate any marketing trend this year, turn to Authentic Branding and Marketing. In this post, we’re diving into why authentic branding matters for your small business.
Authentic Branding and Marketing (sometimes called authentic marketing) is defined as finding and expressing your company’s own voice instead of trying to mimic competitors because they were successful. It is about being yourself and not pretending to be someone you’re not.
Authentic Marketing requires consistent honesty, transparency, clarity, and humility as well. Authenticity in branding and marketing is not only ethically sound, but it’s downright essential because consumers have access to the tiniest details about brands. You’d be a fool to lie or “spin” these days. The challenge is to have the courage to tell the truth and truly care for your customers.
In order for your brand to be truly authentic, it’s important for your company to set itself apart from their competitors. Branding gives value and benefits for a company, it helps businesses form a bond with their customers. Customers are more likely to care about a brand when they see the company being more authentic and staying true to themselves.
Why Authenticity Matters More Than Ever
Customers want to be engaged by the brands they love. They want to know they can trust the company and their brand. Airbnb has done just that. They have established a bond and created trust with their customers. Airbnb is one of the world’s largest home-sharing sites around. They were built on the promise that its guests would receive authentic, local experiences throughout their travels. They have proven that being authentic matters more than the brand itself.
But why does authenticity matter? Customers are no longer purchasing products just to buy the logo. They want to be a part of something bigger. They want to be a part of a company’s brand that aligns with their values and beliefs. As a result, customers are paying more attention to how the brand relates to their customers, in addition to how they do business. Here are a few reasons why authenticity matters more than ever.
1. The Balance of Power in Marketing Has Shifted
Customers have more power now than ever before, and they are demanding brands tell an engaging story and do what they say they’re going to do. Their customers now have access to more information about companies then they have had in the past, and people refuse to buy from inauthentic brands. Customers don’t want to feel like they are associated with brands, they want to feel like they are connected with the humans behind the brands. This shift mandates that brands invest time and money into creating relationships with their customers. An authentic company engages customers on an emotional level and does not just state the facts.
2. Millennials Want Authenticity
When it comes to purchasing a product, Millennials value authenticity above anything. They value authenticity 43% more than they value content. Before they purchase a product, they want to trust the company before making a final decision. They have a lot of influence over older generations and are the trendsetters in all industries. This generation has grown up to take hold of $200 billion in annual direct purchasing power. Their opinion is driving the market, and their opinion favors authenticity.
In order to attract millennials to your brand, imitating big brands may not be the answer: more than half of customers think brands aren’t creating authentic content. Not only can they tell the difference between authenticity and fabrication, but they can punish the brands by disconnecting with them online. On the flipside, consider the brands that you’ve become loyal to over the last five years. Those brands are probably creating authentic content that resonates with your values.
The reality is that millennials are not influenced by traditional advertising. It’s not surprising considering the uprise in TiVo and Netflix, where people can avoid advertisements entirely. They connect best with the people behind the brand rather than the brand itself.
3. Authenticity Creates Stronger Customer Relationships
Strong brands are built on genuine, active customer relationships and trust. This all starts with authenticity. When you’re authentic and transparent with your brand, your customers can more easily see the direction of the company, and they will root for it.
Small businesses can see success if they pair authenticity with consistency. As a small business owner, it’s important to remember to be authentic to your brand, which is not always the same as being authentic as the owner. For as much as your brand is authentic, your brand should also be consistent. No one likes a brand (or person, for that matter) that they can’t pin down long enough to understand.
4. Customers See Value, Which Drives High Price Point
Customers see value in a brand when it owns its true colors. An authentic brand strategy increases the value of the business as a whole. Customers recognize this value and will pay more for it because it has become a representation of themselves. Small businesses struggle with the idea of being authentic because they don’t want to risk losing potential customers. As long as your brand is rooted in an authentic “why”, and you can always make a case for the value of your products or services based on this “why”, you will find loyal customers are willing to support your brand no matter the cost.
Types of Authentic Content
When customers are looking at companies and their brand, they want the companies to lay all their cards on the table — or at least the cards that matter to them. For companies to show their personality, they need to create authentic content that resonates with their customers. There are four types of authentic content to help you show customers what your company truly represents.
Millennials enjoy doing their research before purchasing a product. They want to make sure that what they’re buying is exactly what they want. About 33% of millennials review blogs before making any purchase, as opposed to 3% who pay attention to reviews from TV ads, books, and magazines. When writing a blog, embrace your uniqueness and provide relevant information that only your brand can provide.
The research confirms that user-generated content is the most authentic and influential content out there. About 60% of users say user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content compared to content created by a brand. It turns out, celebrities and influencers are the least influential when impacting customers purchasing decisions. On average, 70 % of Millennials look at social media for purchasing decisions before looking at celebrity influencers. It is a mistake to try and mimic UGC: consumers have no problem distinguishing professional photos from UGC photos. Millennials are best at spotting the difference.
Co-Created With Consumers
Co-creation is not just a clever sales and marketing tactic; it’s about creating joint value. On average, 42% of millennials want to co-create products, ideas, and services with brands. Millennials want to be more involved with how the products are created. This presents a new frontier for brands. Millennials want to be involved, which can be a win-win. Brands make products consumers actually want because they had a hand in creating it. Look for partnership opportunities including:
- Surveys and feedback
- Invention, design and idea submissions
- New talent
- Social Media Comments
Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is the gateway to customers minds. When it comes to millennials, 62% of them say they are more likely to become a loyal customer if the brand engages with them on social media. Customers expect companies to not just have a presence on social media but to engage with and listen to them. When engaging with your customers, it’s more than just a post on social media. As a company, you want to connect with them on a personal level. The best way to break the barrier between the brand and your customer is through Instagram stories, Facebook Live, and comments. These help the customer know the humans behind the brand and allows the customer to be a part of something bigger.
How Authentic Is Your Brand, Really?
It’s impossible to execute effective Authentic Marketing if you don’t know who you are as a brand. If you’re looking for some assistance crafting a solid brand, grab a beer with Bareknuckle to develop a brand message that matters.