In the age of internet and social media, consumers can access multitudes of information–all of which can easily sway and inform their daily choices. As marketing strategists and advertisers flood social media with content made to entice new and existing customers, today’s consumers may find it more difficult to choose which brands to put their trust in.
Branding is not about ads, colors, logos. It’s about heart, guts, emotions. The first are the means to the latter. All the elements knit together to create a feeling in the client. Literally, it’s leaving a lasting impression – much like old branding irons, but using emotions instead of heat.
But with so much of our daily lives forcibly changed by COVID-19, it’s clear that the marketing landscape has changed considerably–and with this comes the need for organizations to reinvigorate themselves. In these uncertain times, it’s crucial that organizations focus their efforts on pushing their principles forward.
In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into not only why you should put importance on increasing your brand authenticity, but also the best ways to do so.
3 reasons why you should value brand authenticity
Brand authenticity keeps your organization relevant
Staying under the public’s radar doesn’t automatically mean that an organization has reached its end. In fact, some businesses thrive despite not getting a lot of attention. However, failing to be relevant hampers your organization’s growth and increases the possibility of losing money.
While reinvention can momentarily put the spotlight on your business, take note that consistency is key to prolonging your time in the limelight. In this regard, it’s crucial that your business keeps its core values and stays authentic to your brand every time it undergoes an update.
If you feel like your marketing deliverables have lost the essence of your brand, go back to your business’ vision and mission goals and make sure that this is reflected in whatever you put out. This can help your brand stay consistent and keep it relevant.
Brand authenticity creates loyalty
In any organization, loyalty is of the utmost importance–both from employees and customers. If your organization is unable to stay on-brand, it might find difficulty in creating a culture of honesty and transparency.
Indeed, a joint study from University of Valencia and University of North Carolina Wilmington notes that brand authenticity has a significant effect on the perceived value of an organization–encouraging customers to patronize your products, services, and company as a whole. So in order to keep both consumers and employees loyal to your organization, focus on achieving company goals while still providing clarity through transparency.
Brand authenticity sets you apart
As more and more organizations release competing products, it can become harder to find the one thing that differentiates your company from the rest. As a result, it’s best to remain firm on your principles while also staying on-brand.
A report by Euclid points out that an organization’s success is largely dependent on brand perception, so your company values should mirror what the general public considers as important. It’s safe to say that in order to make your organization stand out from the crowd, it should take an active stance on various issues while simultaneously staying true to its core goals.
3 ways to enhance your brand authenticity
Choose causes relevant to your industry
To increase your brand authenticity, it’s incredibly important to match up your causes with your industry. (After all, you lose believability when you choose to highlight causes outside of your niche.)
To match your company with the right cause, it’s best to start by evaluating which advocacies will create the most impact for your brand. Cause marketing helps your business as much as your chosen non-profit, so it’s best to maximize its effectiveness by choosing the right charitable partner from the get-go. If your business focuses on selling clothing apparel, for example, it makes sense to pick out causes related to your organization like those focused on sustainable manufacturing and mitigating textile waste.
Value your employees
During distressing times such as these, brand authenticity also means doing right by your employees. Even if you were previously making it a point to keep your employees well taken care of, more priority must go to this amidst a crisis.
Dr. Dustin York, associate professor at Maryville University’s online communication degree program, highlights how the first step in crisis communication is to look inward and ensure regular communication with your staff. This, to York, is the biggest and most tactical thing you can do, as even the best marketing campaign will crumble if you don’t take care of your own people.
The culture of the company, that’s branding. Everyone in the company affects the brand, because everyone in the company feels the brand. If your employees don’t love what they do, if they are not passionate about it, how will they instill love in the audience?
“If you don’t do anything external, but you crush internally,” Dr. York stated to Ted Kitterman in an interview with Ragan, “You’re going to come away from this in a much better light than anyone else.”
Try to uphold accountability
While you want your organization to be as pure and blameless as possible, it’s hard to sell the idea of a perfect company. Trying to convince your customer base that your organization can do no wrong is detrimental to your business–especially if you slip up and make a mistake.
To enhance your brand authenticity, it’s best to own up to your mistakes. Additionally, it’s best that you create a culture of accountability in the workplace so you can address any issues from the ground up–as well as encourage your team to join you in the mission to become a fully transparent business. In order to uphold accountability in your organization, Emily Lazration, a content marketing specialist at CoverWallet, notes that leaders should celebrate progress and deliver progress updates that can be accessed by both employees and consumers.
These changing times warrant authenticity. Should you wish to not only survive but thrive, your business must stay on-brand and true to its core.
Should you want help making sure that each of your internal and external assets remain on-brand, check out the design services we offer at SketchDeck or schedule a call with a team member to learn more.