In today’s age of social media, people expect the brands that they are loyal towards to be more than just another business. Companies that are able to connect with people on a deeper level are going to build an incredibly loyal consumer-base, and will attract a much wider range of people. The hunt for this deeper connection is what companies are after when they try to attain brand authenticity. The bad news is that if you are looking on the internet for ways to be more authentic, you’re already a couple big steps behind, but there are things you can take to heart to be a company that makes more meaningful steps towards connecting with customers…
Be open and transparent
First of all, nothing makes a company seem like a corporate stooge-pool like dishonesty. When a company appears to be hiding something, consumers will have a long lasting view of that company as something that can’t be trusted. For this reason, it is important to develop habits of transparency and openness. Even if the thing you are being transparent about is going to put some consumers off, you will always score points for being honest, outright. It should be noted that brand transparency and brand authenticity are very different things, but it is hard to achieve authenticity without transparency.
Don’t be afraid of personality
There are too many companies in the world who are too afraid to show a little more color than a bland and base appeal to the lowest common denominator amongst all people. This way of playing it safe is only a setup to be a brand that will be, and deserves to be, forgotten. Don’t be afraid for your company to have personality. Use your advertising to tell a joke. Don’t be too serious about yourselves. Have fun, every once in awhile. It’s hard for people to connect with a business that is hyper-focused on corporate ideals, at all times.
Communicate directly with customers
There are so many tools today to communicate with consumers directly, and speak to their specific and individual stories and questions. Social media, in particular, has truly opened the door for how businesses can address each person, as an individual. For this reason, many of the best brands on social media try to respond to every customer comment on any post or tag, as often as they can. Actually reading what your customers are saying and then directly responding to them let’s them know that you see them as people, and aren’t hiding in some ivory tower eagerly awaiting to collect their money.
Share personal stories
The thing that makes up a business is the people who have built it and work there. It’s a lot easier to connect to a business of people than a business of logos and slogans. Let the people in your business be a voice that reaches out to consumers and presents the identity of your company to them. Whether in social media or in other marketing channels, using personal stories from inside your business, or from a person that your business impacted, brings you down to a more relatable level. When people can put faces to your business, then you’ve made a much more lasting impact on their view.
Have a greater purpose
At the end of the day, a business is there to make money. That is what it was created for, on some level. However, if all a business is out to do is make money, that’s not a very inspiring message for consumers to rally around, is it? For this reason, it’s important to consider what values are at the heart of your company. Devoting your life to building something that only generates capital is a drab way to live life. Look for a greater purpose to your company that gives you and your employees a greater pride in what you do. Sticking to these values and demonstrating them through a greater purpose gives consumers something to believe in, in your business.
For more ideas about being authentic in your branding, check out this post, which details the difference between transparency and authenticity.