Consumers have trust issues with brands. They are skeptical of brand messaging and instead turn to peers to inform purchase decisions. Yet, consumers want honest relationships with the brands they support. They reward the companies that communicate honestly about their products (63% of global consumers claim that they would buy from a company that they consider to be authentic over all other competitors) and shun those that do not.
So what makes for an authentic brand? How can your brand become more authentic? In this article, we’ll outline seven habits of remarkably authentic brands.
1. Listen to your customers
Your customers are talking about your brand online. Word-of-mouth has gone digital, and customers are voicing their opinions about your products on social media. Do you know what your customers are saying? Social listening can help your brand learn how customers use your products post-purchase and what they like and dislike about their touch points with your brand. 83% of consumers like when a company responds to them on social, so join the conversation and ‘like’, ‘comment’, and ‘share’ positive submissions. Also, do your best to address the negative feedback and to turn bad experiences into exceptional ones.
2. Let go of who you think you are
When you start listening to your customers on social media, you might just learn something. While your brand may see itself in a certain light, the millions of photos that customers post online may teach you about how your brand is perceived. Perhaps your customers will even inspire a brand image face-lift. Customers can do a lot to shape and enhance your brand lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to let go and to collaborate with customers to build a stronger, more authentic brand.
3. Stand behind your values
In the outdoors industry, you hear a lot about representing “the tribe” and how outdoor brands should cater to the values of their community. Particularly you hear about brands wanting customers to believe in what they stand for, not just to buy their products. 64% of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. What this means is that brands can position themselves behind causes their community supports. Clearly stating your values is a mark of true brand authenticity.
4. Be honest
Authentic brands represent their products in a truthful way. 91% of customers believe that brands should represent their products honestly. One way to do this is to avoid deceiving your customers with distorted reviews and product images. Offer additional transparency by displaying real customer-created photos on your homepage or on product pages directly next to your brand-owned images. It will give your customers a greater sense of transparency and trust.
5. Personalize your outreach
Show your customers that you care about their needs. 73% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. With today’s technology, you can upsell customers based on what they have bought in the past. Offer complimentary product discounts through package inserts, Instagram display ads, or with a tailored email marketing campaign.
6. Embrace your story
Chances are, you have a powerful story that you are not putting to use. Whether it’s an amazing founder’s story or simply why you believe in what your brand represents. Consumers want to know why you care about your brand. If they find why you care compelling, you might convince them to care as well. Tell a brand story that your customers can see themselves in, in which your buyer is the hero.
7. Make every day matter
Remember that consumers interact and buy from dozens of brands each and every day. When it comes to being authentic, you need to be consistent. You should actively work to ensure that every interaction a customer has with your brand leaves a positive vibe. You don’t get to take a day off representing your brand. Create great marketing collateral that reflects your authentic brand voice and stay attentive and helpful to your customers.