In this new digital age, it is difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. Consumers are bombarded with advertisements the minute they do a Google search, and someone looking for something as simple as ‘winter coats’ will be presented with thousands of results from similar companies within a matter of seconds. 

In this article, we explore the ways brands can add brand authenticity to our digital age, even in unprecedented times. 

Consumer concerns have led to a desire for authenticity 

With plenty of fake news and the number of advertisements circling the internet every day, consumers are more selective than ever when it comes to making purchases or choosing a specific company to cater to their required services. They want to purchase from true, authentic sources that do exactly what they say on the tin. 

Marketing is now so easily accessible that, for your one business, there will be another thousand out there shouting about the same products or services as you, and because of this, potential customers have become accustomed to disregarding unrelatable messaging that doesn’t feel honest. To be an authentic brand in 2021, you need to bring authenticity to life. 

After 18 months of the unknown thanks to Covid-19, consumers are only interested in companies that can express their brand values – and no longer have time for those who don’t show purpose with confidence and emotion. 

Draw the reader in with a compelling story

Connection is what brings consumers and brands together in harmony. It’s the same as making a new friend: you want to know their likes, dislikes, what they do for a living and their most important beliefs. We want to be around people who have similar values to ourselves, and that goes the same for the way we connect with brands. 

Telling a story is an essential factor in establishing your brand – the narrative you create will help to shape how consumers view you and, hopefully, a connection will become more meaningful over time. Tell the right story and you will find that your consumers will buy from you simply because they love what you stand for – and not just because of what you sell.

A story you’ve heard before

Nike has almost certainly become the best example of story-telling with its famous ‘Just do it’ slogan, one that has now graced its core marketing message for over 30 years. If you’re wondering why Nike does it best, just consider that any business can create a catchy slogan to encourage brand familiarity, but there is something about Nike that still clings to us to this day. 

The memorable essence we have all grown accustomed to isn’t just another marketing tactic, it has become a message of motivation that speaks to every one of their customers individually. The products are subtly mentioned in every campaign, but the focus always remains on the main character and their narrative. The story is never about selling a pair of trainers or how incredible the products are – it’s about how the product can support you as an athlete. 

The empowering statement plays to everyone’s imagination, whether you’re a teenager on the school track team or an all-star athlete training for the Olympics, the story remains the same – just do it. 

Employees with passion 

The people who work for you are arguably your biggest brand advocates. It’s not a requirement to be in love with the product, but hiring employees who have relevant expertise or a genuine passion for the brand will exude the right attitude to your consumers. Employees who love the message themselves will naturally express a brand’s core values with passion and emotion as they ooze authenticity and build trust with consumers

Convey consistency 

Consistency is something that consumers appreciate because it elevates trust and familiarity. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, an incredible 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious, proving that purchasing is a more emotional decision rather than a practical one.

A successful brand isn’t just a logo or catchy slogan, it’s the core values and great customer service that will bring consumers back to a brand time and time again. By providing a reliable, clearly communicated experience, you instantly ingrain a feeling of comfort – which turns into positive brand recognition with every purchase. 

With many social media platforms to keep up with, it’s important to whittle down just how many you need that will make sense for your brand. Some businesses will thrive on Instagram, whereas others will make their voice heard on more formal platforms like LinkedIn. 

Maintaining too many accounts that don’t fit your target audience may put you at risk of sharing inconsistent messaging, which, in turn, tells consumers you are unreliable or not sure of your own offering. Self-assurance is key for a well established, well-respected brand. 

Honesty is (still) the best policy

Brand authenticity begins and ends with honesty, especially when it comes to the product or services you are offering. Cheating consumers by sharing false reviews or misleading information will cause a huge negative impact that could have a long-lasting detriment to your business. You need to remain genuine and open at all times, even if that means a risk of losing one customer out of a thousand trusting ones. 

Brand authenticity is not something that can be measured by metrics, but it can be thoroughly appreciated by your desired audience. Without it, you run the risk of paling into insignificance, as your competitors go from strength to strength. In a world where misinformation and false advertisements are suffocating the 2021 consumer, people not only want – but expect – clear transparency and empathy from brands.