Marketing is all about telling your brand’s story in a way that will resonate with your audience. When communicating your message, you not only have to be committed to upholding your brand and its values but also show that you are committed to strengthening the relationship between your brand and its audience. The best way to show this commitment, on both ends, is to practice authentic storytelling through your marketing and branding.
What is Authenticity?
While authenticity may feel like an overused word in marketing, it continues to hold weight among consumers. Authenticity for a business means that you are staying true to your brand’s values. For a consumer, however, authenticity from a brand is all about sincerity, consistency, and transparency.
Forbes’s full definition of an authentic brand is “one that decides to be transparent and consistent in its messaging and branding initiatives. It has business values it remains true to, and most essentially, it is honest.” When creating your brand, you will likely comprise brand guidelines that help establish a connection between your business’s values and the way it presents itself to the public. Sticking to these guidelines is a great way to practice authentic marketing as it will establish consistency throughout your messaging.
Your brand voice is critical in establishing yourself as an authentic brand as it can translate all three aspects of authenticity (sincerity, consistency, and transparency) into your marketing. Your voice is how you communicate with your audience, so by establishing a tone and general verbiage, you can communicate messages that are both sincere and consistent. Transparency is big when it comes time to communicate issues or setbacks on your business’s end. While it is not always necessary to share your internal issues with the general public, it is necessary to acknowledge problems that are affecting your customers and communicate how you will be moving forward. This type of transparency is important to gain the trust of today’s consumers and once you establish that foundation of trust, you will find that your customers will be more loyal to your brand and may even do some of your marketing for you.
Value to Consumers
According to Social Media Today, 90% of consumers said that authenticity is an important factor in deciding what brands they want to support. Among these, Millennials and Gen Z make up 139 million people. These are 139 million people who expect more from brands than just the products they purchase and are quick to cut off a brand or “cancel” it if it comes across as inauthentic and dishonest.
In a time where anyone can look up the history of a business and share what they find with thousands of people with just the click of a button, consumers have taken on the role of judge, jury, and executioner of businesses that don’t uphold the values they present to the public. Millennials and Gen Z make up the largest percentage of consumers in the market right now and they are looking for brands to do more than just provide a good product. Edelman’s Trust Barometer found that 64% of today’s consumers are belief-driven buyers, meaning people want to buy from authentic brands that share values similar to theirs.
The values that customers are looking for brands to match can range anywhere from general life values to social causes. In the past year, more and more businesses have been outspoken about the causes they support and have gained a following of loyal customers that agree with those views. However, that loyalty can easily be lost if you are not consistent in supporting those values or seem insincere in your support. Millennials have already sparked a new wave of socially conscious buyers but by 2026, Gen Z will outnumber millennial consumers and the younger generation is projected to garner in an age where buying behaviors will revolve around a search for the truth. Any inauthenticity from a brand will easily be sniffed out and if your customers don’t think they can trust you, they will move on to brands they can.
Maintaining a loyal customer base is more about remaining authentic than it is about keeping everyone happy. You don’t want to hop on the latest trend or speak out in support of something just because you see it’s what everyone else is doing and they seem successful. Being authentic means upholding your values through every action your brand takes and earning the trust of your customers through continued transparency.
Authenticity is a conscious effort that shows your customers that you care. If you’re ready to put in that effort but need a little help implementing that effort, reach out to Big Surf Media Partners today. We can help you to be sure that your message is sincere, consistent, and transparent!