Is Your Brand Authentic?
The term "authenticity" is used a lot when discussing brand. But what does it really mean to operate a business with authenticity?
Is authenticity just honesty?
Honesty is an important part of being authentic, but in terms of describing a brand – there is more to the definition. To be authentic means to uphold a certain level of integrity which includes total honesty and transparency.
The Journal of Consumer Psychology defines authenticity as, “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.”
To see how your brand fits, ask these four questions:
1. Is your brand faithful to itself?
Does your brand have consistent messaging and missions that weather consumer trends and industry changes?
2. Is your brand true to its consumers?
Are you ‘as advertised’? To be a credible brand it’s important that you fulfill promises and values to your customers.
3. Is your brand built on integrity?
Is your mission statement based on moral principles and does it stay true to its values?
4. Does your brand add meaning or create value?
Is your brand perpetuating value or is it important to what people care about?
Why is brand authenticity important?
Over the last couple of decades consumer behavior has evolved, and now traditional marketing techniques are no longer seeing results.With convention out the door – businesses are having to shift how and what they are communicating to their customers.
It’s no surprise that Millennials and Generation Y are shopping differently than their predecessors. For Millennials, brand authenticity is second only to loyalty discounts in importance when choosing companies to support, according to the BCG study.
Being inauthentic can be detrimental to a brand. For example, when United Airlines publicly responded to the passenger being dragged off – the corporation came out with two different messages within 24 hours, the messages contradicted one another. Not only did this result in public confusion, its hypocrisy created a distrust among the public.
Buffer is an excellent example of a company who’s brand is transparent and honest.
Buffer is a social media management solution, and they’re known for their dedication to transparency both internally and externally. When the company was only seven people, the founders decided they needed to define what their culture was and put together a list of their values.
Buffer’s second value is “Default to Transparency, ” and this is evident throughout their company culture, product, and communication with customers. They even have a whole page on their website dedicated to transparency.
They’ve achieved this level of transparency by publishing employee salaries/equity and company financials online, showing internal metrics, and more.
By being direct, outspoken about their values, and consistent in acting on them, Buffer has built an authentic brand that is inspiring more tech companies to increase their own transparency, as well as creating a loyal customer base.
According to their recurring revenue calculator, transparency seems to be working. From 2015 to 2016, Buffer saw a 49.7 percent increase in their annual recurring revenue.
Having a clear identity as a business is crucial to success. A company's brand is synonymous with "Personality" and no consumer wishes to do business with a person they can't trust. Authenticity is the key to having a successful relationship between these two parties.