Authenticity: The Hidden Brand Advantage
December 23, 2015
Founder/Brand Strategist, EmJoy, Inc.
In the 21st century, the single most important quality of every brand large and small is its authenticity.
The purpose of branding is to attract clients and partnerships who believe what you believe, and who understand that your brand is a monument to what you believe. You can only accomplish this by being truly authentic.
Authenticity has gone from a personality trait to a branding must-have due to the hyper-connected world we live in, where EVERYTHING is social. Everyone has a network –and even if it’s only five people, those five people may be connected to thousands. This is bad news for fakers and image-only brands but it’s fantastic news for leaders and brands that are values-driven and genuinely want to do the right thing.
Being authentic ensures you and your company will pass the “brand test” your clients are conducting in the time between being referred to you, to when they visit your website to when they contact you directly. During this time, they are not just responding to your advertising – they are researching your social presence to see who you REALLY are. Recent estimates are that nearly 70 percent of the consumer vetting process takes place before you even hear directly from your prospects1. This is why being phony or shallow is both short-sighted and expensive. The good news is that the authentic now have a powerful tool to drive their brands!
There is no better time than now to realign your brand to these new realities. Opting in and changing your marketing strategy and tactics to harness these new market forces will make your brand look authentically contemporary – and make your competition look stale, out of touch and irrelevant.
As with any change, start by reflecting inward. Here are three vital questions to ask yourself:
What do you believe and how are those values applied to your brand?
How do others experience those values in you as a leader and in your company or group?
What marketing tactics are you using that connect with the hearts and values of your ideal audience?
These questions help you begin to get to the root of the brand. The root is the heart of who you are as a leader, which becomes the soul of your brand. Once you identify the core truths, beliefs and behaviors that differentiate you, you’ll know the real, authentic you. From here, you can build visuals, client experiences, marketing campaigns and more. And those are the foundations for real prosperity in 2016.
1 Source: Google/CEB http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/index.html)