Like much of branding, authenticity goes back to your mission. The core mission by which you run your company. In the Brandview Framework, we detailed how vision and mission are foundations for your business branding.
Authenticity builds trust and trust yields connection and loyalty. But there’s currently a trust problem. Trust has hit a low point in the consumer world. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 34% of consumers trust the brands they buy from. It’s up to you to set yourself apart from this low statistic by establishing practices that build trust.
There are many ways a company builds trust, but one of the keys is through authenticity.
- Why authenticity? Per Stackla report, “86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.”
What Is Authenticity, Anyway?
- Actions and words are in sync.
The actions you take in your business should align with your words, your mission, your stated values. In Should Your Business Follow Marketing Trends, we went over the common error companies make of jumping on a trend even when it doesn’t match their mission. When this happens, you lose credibility and your business is not operating from a place of authenticity.
- Value-driven strategies
How much do your values drive your business? In the Brandview Framework, we gave the foundational framework for a brand. Values is one pillar of the foundation. Your values
A company’s values answer the questions:
- Who are we as a company?
- What value do we provide to our community?
- What do we stand for -and against- within our marketplace?
- What products/services do we sell, and why?
Values are a direct demonstration of what’s most important to a company, what the company stands for, and where they will not compromise, even if challenged.
They drive what you do in business, but also how you do it. And a company does committed to authenticity doesn’t bend on their values. They stick with them and use them as a filter for decision making, action, taking, and evaluation.
- Sometimes you may have to go against the crowd
This isn’t mandatory for authenticity, but it may arise for your business. For example, when the innovative vehicle company, Tesla first came onto the scene, they were in direct opposition with many vehicle manufacturers who had years of experience behind them.
They were definitely going against the crowd of other carmakers. They’re also disrupters of the massive oil and gas companies. In Los Angeles Times article, Tesla is quoted as having written: “The oil and gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world—they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power and electric cars.”
As mentioned previously, going against the mainstream isn’t’ mandatory for your brand authenticity. But it’s worth bearing in mind when making decisions and setting company brand goals. It’s human nature for most of us to try to go along with what’s popular and not ‘kick up a fuss’. Because of this, you may avoid branding that feels ‘different’ than what’s trending or mainstream. Be careful not to stifle your brand vision and voice so as to conform.
Remain authentic with your branding and you’ll build connection, trust, and loyalty. It’s one of the most important and effective approaches to adopt in your business branding.
You can also use it as a litmus test or filter for decision making. When unsure of a direction to take, ask yourself if it feels authentic. If the next steps would be in line with your core values and if you would be straying off path. Authenticity is an outstanding standard to set for your business. Let it be a guiding beacon and watch your customer and client retention and loyalty increase.