100% Authentic | Brand Authenticity by Kahn Media

More brands than ever are discovering that having an excellent service or product isn’t necessarily a guaranteed path to success. While the right offerings are critical, there is now much more to having a successful company. Your marketing efforts, social media channels, distribution, e-commerce site and more all must be optimized and effective. Even with all of that perfected, there is still an element that, if missing, could be costing sales. What is it? Brand authenticity.

That answer might surprise some, as brand authenticity is often overlooked. However, consumers are savvier and more demanding than ever. Increasingly, many are looking for more than just cheap prices or a generic buyer experience. They are gravitating towards brands they feel a connection to and perceive as authentic. So why is brand authenticity so essential, and how do you build it? Read on to find out. In this article, we will discuss:

  • Why brand authenticity matters.
  • How brand authenticity builds trust and separates you from competitors.
  • The role content plays in building brand authenticity.
  • How knowing your customers and taking a stand for your values are keys to building brand authenticity.

WHAT IS BRAND AUTHENTICITY?

Brand authenticity might seem like an abstract or complex subject, but it is actually straightforward. It is the degree to which your marketing and messaging align with the products you sell, your brand’s values and your actions as a company. There is no need to overcomplicate it.

SO WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Most marketing teams are obsessed with driving sales and rightfully so. If you aren’t increasing revenue, the duration of your job as a marketer might be fairly limited. However, that hyper-focus solely on sales can lead to brand authenticity being ignored. That can be a mistake that can have a more significant impact on revenue than your next sale. Here is why brand authenticity is important:

  • Brand Authenticity Builds Trust: Read the definition of brand authenticity above, and it is easy to see that honesty is a critical component of it. That honesty about your products, values and actions builds trust between you and your customers. The more trust you have with customers, the more credible they perceive your brand. And if your brand is more credible and trustworthy than your competition, guess which one a customer would prefer to buy from? Hint: it’s you.
  • It is a Bond Builder: Thinking that customers only make purchasing decisions based on price is decidedly old-school. People increasingly want to feel connected to the brands they buy from. Forming that bond when a customer has no idea what your brand stands for or what your company is about is extremely hard. It is also downright impossible if a customer doesn’t trust your brand. Authenticity is key.
  • Your Brand’s Values Matter: Brand values used to be little more than quickly forgotten touchy-feely bullet points in a company presentation. Now, they matter more than some might think. The 150 million Millennials and Gen Z represent a vast swath of buying power in the U.S., comprising almost half of the nation’s population. Increasingly, this demographic wants to buy from brands that support issues they care about. This trend is even more prevalent among Gen Z, with a DoSomethingStrategic survey showing that 66% of respondents had increased positive feelings about brands because of an association with a social cause. Ignoring this trend can cost customers.
  • Brand Authenticity Helps Your Brand Rise Above the Noise: People are inundated with constant marketing messages almost everywhere they look. Television, phones, social media and online platforms all bombard consumers with almost non-stop advertising. All that messaging can have little impact if you are perceived as a faceless entity only interested in profits. An authentic brand identity puts a “face” to your brand and separates it from competitors with no identity.

HOW TO BUILD BRAND AUTHENTICITY

So, now that you know brand authenticity is important, how do you build it? Creating brand authenticity doesn’t happen overnight and does take a continuous and focused approach. However, the results are worth the effort. Here are our top tips for building brand authenticity:

  • Take a Stand: It is impossible to build brand authenticity without having any values. And if you don’t stand up for what you believe in, you essentially don’t have any values. Carefully define your brand values and take action to stand up for them. We are not saying you need to be involved in politics, as that can quickly become a hot mess. However, you should back causes that align with your brand’s values. For example, if your brand is a surf clothing company, you should probably be involved in efforts to minimize ocean pollution. Remember, action is always stronger than words. Don’t just talk about it, be about it.
  • Engage With and Understand Your Customers: Brand authenticity builds bonds with your customers. However, building that bond is hard to do if you don’t know who customers are or understand their needs. A significant part of that understanding comes from engaging with your customers. Whether on social media, at events or in a retail store, you need to go where your customers are and engage with them. Answer questions, ask questions, listen to them, seek feedback and value their opinion. Communication and engagement are not one-way marketing messages but two-way flows of interaction. It is also a perfect time to gather more vital first-party data about your customers. Read our blog post on why first-party data is important and why you should be gathering it right now.
  • Be Consistent: There are now more ways to interact with consumers than ever before. Digital marketing, social media, SMS messaging, email marketing, newsletters, video content, blogs, chatbots, events, websites and more are all potential touchpoints. All of it can lead to the potential for mixed and conflicting messages across multiple platforms. The key to building brand authenticity is ensuring all your messaging across all your marketing channels aligns with your brand values. That alignment must also happen consistently over time. Ensure all your marketing teams know your brand values and practice them in any marketing efforts. If you are working with influencers, make sure they align with your brand values, too. Read our blog post for more tips on working with influencers.
  • Think Long Term: Authenticity is like trust; both take time to build but can be quickly destroyed. Thinking long-term is key to building and maintaining brand authenticity. A short-term action might result in a quick revenue increase. However, if it damages your authenticity, is it worth it? Often, the answer is no, as a temporary sales boost diminishes over the long run as your brand authenticity suffers. Always consider anything your brand does and if it aligns with your brand values. Protecting your authenticity should be a priority as, once it is gone, it is almost impossible to get back.
  • Content is King: After reading our blog on the massive scale of YouTube, it is easy to understand that a brand’s video content can be the first way a customer interacts with it. SEO is a powerful tool for customers to discover your brand through blogs and other posts. Social media is also another way for customers to find your brand. No matter the medium, the content you put on it needs to go beyond promoting products or sales. Your brand’s content is one of the best ways to connect with consumers, humanize your brand, share its values and show what you are doing to support them. High-quality content with amazing visuals is great, but the story you are telling with that content is just as important.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

Crafting a marketing strategy that incorporates brand authenticity can be difficult. Creating engaging content that builds brand authenticity can also be challenging for companies of any size. At Kahn Media, we can handle both. Our team of in-house experts can create a cohesive marketing strategy and deploy it across multiple channels. Our creative team is highly adept at making visually striking content for YouTube, social media or other uses that connects with your customers. We can also act as a turn-key marketing department, often at a cost lower than hiring your own experts. Head to our services page to see what we can do to help build your brand.