Measuring the success of a brand was once a simple process, dating back to a time before the word “brand” became common lingo. Better offerings simply meant more loyal customers, attracting higher revenue. Those days are long gone now as consumers want more from brands. What they want in today’s world is not only a great product, but authenticity.
Backed by Data
Stackla, and IT company, conducted a survey of 2,000 adults in 2019 across the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The study found that 86% of participants placed authenticity at the top of the list when deciding to support a brand. A fifth of them even unfollowed a minimum of one brand for insincere statements or those that felt like corporate lingo.
Other polls show that the weight of authenticity increases among younger demographics. Roughly 75% of consumers under 25 are more likely to buy from brands that support positive causes. Studies reveal that consumers can see through false stances and even charitable donations as a proxy.
Both Pride Month and the Black Lives Matter movement are excellent case studies. Companies rush to promote both, but consumers are quick to identify anything within a company that stands in direct opposition to that support. Former employees and whistleblowers now shed light on any discrimination that happens behind the scenes, which is spreads like wildfire on social media.
The simple approach to being an authentic brand is to simply be authentic. Your actions must match your words, creating a brand personality that becomes a conduit for its values. Those values must also be grounded in reality and devoid of any empty gestures.
A more complex approach begins with value marketing. A brand must identify what its customers value and market those as they work to earn and retain loyal consumers. This is true for everything from interactions with associates to customer support and the overall buying experience a consumer has with your brand.
When it comes to authenticity, you are essentially identifying what consumers value in the social realm and marketing that to them. Since posts and statements aren’t enough and easily seen through, how does a brand go about building authenticity into their value marketing plans?
The answer is to make that value all encompassing. Your mission, values, and goals must be personified in all aspects of how your brand conducts business. That includes how your brand interacts with its suppliers, daily interactions with its employees, and how it conducts itself with every person it meets from vendors to consumers.
A brand must identify what values it agrees with, then stand by them. Everyone in the organization must live up to that standard on a consistent basis, which clearly defined and communicated values accomplish. By doing so, a brand’s words are now backed by its actions.
The causes your brand stands behind should also be ones it can actually impact, like a coffee company using sustainably sourced beans. Stances like inclusivity and anti-discrimination should be built into all workplaces already, but identifying causes with which the brand has an established connection are ideal.
Finally, don’t jump into a stance if the brand isn’t ready. Make sure all aspects of operations match the cause before making a statement and be ready to address any past criticism by showing how your policies and actions have changed for the better.