Embrace Authenticity with These 6 Tips
The emphasis on branding and design has never been more important as organizations and individuals fight to be heard in a world overflowing with new initiatives, competing claims, innovative products, and, unfortunately, cynicism and fake news.
Authenticity – staying true to who you are, what you do, who you serve – is the foundation on which to build your brand and design.
For most consumers, authenticity means that companies they interact with:
- Communicate honestly about products and services.
- Don’t let customers down.
- Act with integrity at all times.
These companies are transparent. They openly state their mission and values. They explain their actions. They celebrate their successes and admit mistakes. They do what they say they’ll do. Here are 6 pieces of advice that will boost your authenticity quotient:
1. Tell the truth
In our instant-information society, bad news and bad reviews will find their way onto social media in a flash. Once you catch your breath, respond truthfully. Set the record straight. Don’t fudge. You will compound the damage if you get caught in a fib. Social media can inflict punishing damage when outraged.
2. Tell your story from the heart
On your website and in your marketing materials, tell your story from the heart. Connect with your customers directly. Provide examples of your brand and products at work, delivering on your promise. Your marketing content should show the experiences you create, not just talk about them. Your authentic personality will come through loud and clear. Show them that what they see is what they get.
3. Embrace user-generated content
Put your customers to work and let them share their thoughts on your company and products. Consumers trust these writers because they are one of them. They view them as honest commenters with no hidden motives. Encourage reviews on your social media pages, identify writers who might become influencers, and create hashtags that might boost your messaging.
4. Survey your audience and find out what they really think
What really matters to them? Ask their opinions and share the overall results and individual responses. You’ll gain their trust and earn respect from others who see your values at work.
5. Use your employees in your marketing efforts
Put them in your videos. Show them on your website. Introduce them to your audience. Show that your company is made up of real people who care about serving customers.
6. Avoid using stock photography
In addition to showing your real employees, avoid using stock photography to illustrate your story. Don’t present canned photography that purports to show your team in action or the workplace where you do your great work. That stock imagery and video footage is not you – and certainly not authentic.
If in all you do you are consistent, your audience will get to know you. Consumers and clients will trust you. You’ll be the real deal.