Brand Authenticity: Why should brands be genuine?

During my post graduate studies, I was set on doing my thesis on brand authenticity. Until a friend of mine asked me why I’m so set on it. I remember telling her that in my business I really wanted to help smaller businesses learn to exist authentically and transparently on social media. And she encouraged me to tread carefully, as she believed that authenticity and transparency are buzz words that many brands are exploiting with false intentions to grow their audiences. This has been made apparent by rainbow-washing, greenwashing and other trend-jumping practices by brands, who clearly aren’t genuine about these important movements.

Since then, I’ve dived deeper into brand authenticity. So, what is brand authenticity exactly? Brand authenticity has derived from the need for brands to exist more genuinely. This approach came about because many brands’ actions do not align to the brand messages, resulting in brands seeming fake and ingenuine purely for the sake of profit. In a time where brands are being held accountable for unethical behaviour and being ingenuine, I think it is very necessary to consider the importance of brand authenticity. Considering brand authenticity, is a way for brands to reflect not only on itself, but on how it impacts the world.  

Here’s a list of 6 things to consider in understanding brand authenticity:

  1. Brands have to do as they say

Brand messages should be aligned to a brand’s actions. When brand actions contradict brand messages, brands may appear fake and ingenuine. It’s that simple.

2. Brand transparency is sexy

Brands that are transparent show that they are confident about who they are and what they do. Brands that openly share their business processes and practices, show audiences that they have nothing to hide.

3. Clients and consumers will back business whom they resonate with

Clients connect more easily with brands that they relate to and whose values they share. If your brand shows up authentically, it will be easier to attract the audience that relates best to you.

4. Consumers care about things

Consumers are not brainless zombies with money in their hands. They care about the people and the planet. Value is no longer perceived in relation to price point or excellence of product or service. Sure, that’s still a consideration when making purchases. However, value is defined more emotively – it’s about enriching lives. And if as a brand, you don’t care about anything, consumers who care might feel you don’t care about what’s important to them.

5. REAL doesn’t mean trend-jumping or cause-jumping

Is your brand practicing trend-jumping or cause-jumping purely for the sake of appearing trendy or in touch with markets? That in itself can appear disingenuous. It’s about being real about the brand and about the things that the brand truly cares about.

6. Don’t break brand promises

It’s okay for brands to change and pivot. What’s not okay is to base a brand off of an idea and a promise, and then contradicting the entire brand’s existence.

Thank you for reading. If you require assistance on a content marketing plan that is more authentic to your brand, book a discovery call here.

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