When you start an online business, it is important that your brand is authentic. In the virtual world of online business, brand authenticity is second only to loyalty discounts when people decide on what companies they choose to support according to recent studies.
But the question is, what does have an authentic brand actually mean and what are the benefits?
The definition of Brand Authenticity
“The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
OK so let’s analyse the 4 components of this definition in more detail.
“Being faithful towards itself” (Continuity)
A brand that has maintained a high level of consistency in its products or services, regardless of changes in market trends and industry changes.
“True to its consumers” (Credibility)
A brand that is built on the credibility that fulfils its promises
“Motivated by caring and responsibility” (Integrity)
A brand that is focused on addressing its customers’ needs through its products and services and is aware of the importance of this.
“Able to support consumers in being true to themselves” (Symbolism)
Having the necessary knowledge and expertise of their product or service to facilitate the customer’s needs.
To help you to rank how authentic your brand is, ask yourself the question from these bullet points below.
“Is your brand..”
- A brand that survives trends
- A brand with a history
- A timeless brand
- A brand that survives time
- A brand that accomplishes its value promise
- A brand that will not betray you
- An honest brand
- A brand true to a set of moral values
- A brand that cares about its consumers
- A brand that gives back to its consumers
- A brand with moral principles
- A brand that connects people with their real selves
- A brand that connects people with what is really important
- A brand that adds meaning to people’s lives
- A brand that reflects important values people care about
If you have answered “Yes” to more than 75% of these bullet points, then it is safe to say that you have an “authentic brand”
What Is The Difference Between Authenticity And Honesty?
Honesty is a very important part of being authentic, but there is more to the definition than just being an “Honest Brand”. To be authentic means to uphold a certain level of integrity, which includes transparency. Authenticity means staying true to who you are, what you do and who you serve, that creates true value and benefits for your customers.
Here is a list of some important key elements to ensure that your business or brand is authentic.
Be True By Being You!
Ask yourself this question. What are you truly passionate about, and what are your core values? If you are truly passionate about your business and believe in your product or services, you will automatically have an edge over your competitors who are just in it for financial rewards. Your passion will drive you to go the extra mile to ensure that you are giving the maximum effort to address your customers needs.
Give And You Will Receive
Long gone are the days where you can get customers to purchase your products or services online by simply sending your subscribers an email about your product. The majority of us are already bombarded with countless amounts of emails on a daily basis that often ends up in your deleted folder after you have read the subject heading. So how do create consumer attention and engagement?
If you can solve problems, add value, inform and educate your customers, this is the foundation for consumer trust and loyalty. Over time your subscribers will get to know, like, and trust you that should eventually lead to them purchasing your product.
Consistency Is The Key
It is important that you are consistent with the quality of your product, your aftersales customer service, and your companies’ policies and procedures if you want brand authenticity. Inconsistency will confuse your consumers because you are sending out mixed messages that will lead to suspicion and mistrust. This problem can be resolved by sticking to your company’s core values, and your companies mission statement.
A great way to quickly build trust and to show potential customers that you care is by ensuring that you promptly respond to their queries. A speedy informed reply shows that you are attentive to your customer’s needs and that you are a specialist in your chosen field. If you can respond to a minor issue promptly, then this will give your prospective customers a good sense of trust that you would deal with a more complexed issue with the same sense of urgency.
People resonate with companies and people that devote some of their time and money to charitable causes. Pick a cause that hits close to home and one that where you can make a real difference.
The Ultimate Authentic Brand
Authenticity gives your brand identity and personality, which is vital if you want to be successful in the market place. If a person can identify with your brand, its values, and its mission statement. They are buying much more than just a product; they are buying a belief!
Apple is a prime example of a brand that has built a strong reputation for its authenticity and has excellent customer loyalty. The company has always been at the forefront of technology because they are continually pushing the boundaries of innovation and design. Apple has such a prestigious reputation for its authenticity and quality that there are customers who will only purchase and Apple products.
Apple also has a very high NPS Scores, (Net Promoter Score) because of their excellent after-sales customer service.
To calculate an NPS Score, your customers are into 3 categories.
Promoters – People who will recommend your brand to there
Detractors – People who will tell people not to use your brand
Passive – People who don’t promote or detract
If you minus your detractors from your promoters, you get a calculation of your NPS Score.
Authenticity is something that more brands are starting to incorporate into their marketing strategies. For a long time, online marketing was merely about getting more content online, looking at the analytical data, and using various strategies to drive traffic.
This is still important, but Google’s ever more intelligent algorithms are reining in on these marketing tactics to the core of a brand, its personality, and what it has to offer to the people.
If you are just starting out in business, think about the unique qualities that you have to offer, and how you have used them to your advantage. Consumers need to be assured that you are the specialist if your field and that you have the know-how to assist them is something goes wrong.
“People don’t buy good and services. They buy relations, stories and magic” – Seth Godin
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