It’s more crucial than ever to use authenticity in marketing as the online world gets noisier and busier. Audiences desire a deeper relationship with the companies they adore in addition to products and services. Authenticity in marketing refers to a brand’s deliberate adherence to its core values and message. The days of expanding your platform with prepackaged marketing strategies and rehashed, generic messaging are long gone. Customers now only conduct business with organizations who share their beliefs, portray themselves honestly, and champion causes that matter to them. In this Ad Brief, we’ve asked industry experts what it means to be a genuine brand and why this is important for your marketing.
Zachary Walker from Motion Agency and Zachary Walker Consulting LLC sees brands facing a challenge with connecting to their audiences authentically. “I think every brand has a story,” explains Walker, “At the end of the day, people want to connect with brands that have a story to tell, and I think social media is a great platform for brands to be able to do so.” You have to leverage social media to gain the trust of your audiences. Audiences and consumers most trust products or services entrusted by people they know. One way to gain that level of trust is through the use of influencers. These online personalities can reach massive amounts of viewers in an authentic and meaningful way. This builds a connection over time that is critical to building a long-term audience through multiple touch points.
Looking at this idea from the perspective of a creator, MJ Perkins from MJ Perkins believes authenticity is a two-way street. Marketers want a brand that’s authentic in how it relates to the customers, and that requires not only reaching out to audiences but having audiences reach back out to the brand. “When it comes to being authentic, I love using these words called ‘heart and soul’,” explains Perkins, “Because if you can connect with somebody on that deep, personal level as a creative then you can help broadcast that to their audience in a way that seems genuine.” Perkins also believes that this is more important in newer generations. The rise of brands getting behind meaningful causes on platforms like TikTok reflects the desire for younger audiences to connect with brands outside of providing goods and services. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and feel like a person, as that authenticity is becoming the norm.
Meanwhile, Lisa Perry from Captivating Solutions believes there is too much noise in the marketplace right now. So when audiences are making decisions on a brand to follow, the one that pulls on heartstrings will win over the one that can’t. The way to do that? Authenticity and personalization. “80% of consumers want brands that are personalizing the experience to them,” states Perry, “In fact, those brands that have personalized, say, an email will see 6% higher open rates.” Items like personalized email videos that use the name of the customer throughout it are just some of the personalized ways to gather consumer data. This makes the audience feel important, and they are more likely to follow the brand that makes them feel like a unique individual as opposed to a number.
Sarah Stapleton from ChemPartner warns that modern audiences will be able to sniff out a lack of true authenticity and transparency. In the digital age, every audience member has information at their fingertips all of the time. Don’t sugarcoat bad news or hide disappointing updates; make sure you stay authentic to your brand and your values every step of the way. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience to a company that is.
Lastly, Amy Sweezey from Amy Sweezey, Social Weather LLC reassures you that it doesn’t need to be as stressful as it may sound. “I try not to stress about that or focus on that,” says Sweeney, “I try to be me and give authentic information, and people come and get it or maybe they go somewhere else. I can’t really control that. I just have to do what I do.” This doesn’t have to be a big marketing push to seem authentic. Just be genuine to your values and beliefs, and audiences will see that in the work that you do.