A study shows that the average brand trust for all companies declined in 2020. While this sounds worrisome, it’s possible to win back customers’ trust and build brand authenticity with some work and effort.
In fact, 90% of consumers agree that authenticity is essential when choosing brands they like and support. It’s increasingly important when you target Gen Z, as over 70% of Gen Zers prefer authentic brands contributing to social causes or displaying images of real customers.
This article will explain the definition and importance of brand authenticity. We will also show you four steps to creating authentic brands and share a few real-life examples for inspiration.
What Is Brand Authenticity?
Brand authenticity refers to how a brand commits to be transparent and responsible to its target market. For example, a skincare company claims itself as an animal-friendly brand, so it shows customers how it tests the products.
There are four components of brand authenticity:
- Integrity. The virtue reflected in the brands’ values and responsibility. For example, a makeup brand that creates products for different skin colors.
- Symbolism. The brand quality helping consumers define who they are. For example, environmental activists tend to support eco-friendly brands.
- Continuity. The brands’ history and stability over time. For example, Quaker remains to provide healthy oatmeal, although it creates many versions along the way.
- Credibility. The companies’ ability and willingness to demonstrate their promises. For instance, Google shares its corporate social responsibility on its website and social media platforms.
Why Brand Authenticity Matters
Here is the importance of brand authenticity for businesses:
- Stand out from the crowd. Create a unique brand identity by being actively transparent and supporting specific issues.
- Build a strong connection. Touch people’s hearts by caring about causes they support. In fact, 83% of millennials prefer purchasing items from brands that align with their values.
- Increase revenue. Once people find you unique and authentic, you’ll attract more customers. For example, Buffer increased its annual revenue by 49.7% after being transparent about its activities, including employee equity and salaries.
4 Steps to Building Brand Authenticity
Understand Your Brand
Authentic brands have clear purposes and values that align with their products or services and overall campaigns.
Therefore, revisit your company’s roots and ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What’s your company’s mission and purpose?
- What do you stand for?
Ensure that the answers resonate with everything you do.
Let’s say you’re a tech company aiming to provide technology access throughout your country. Therefore, one of your campaigns can be supplying the products in all areas and teaching internet safety to small business owners.
Not all brands have clear missions. To find yours, research issues your target audience cares about the most and turn them into your mission.
Check reputable news sites and data analytics platforms like Nielsen and YouGov.
They often share important issues and customer preferences based on country or age. If you already have an audience, consider asking what topics they support via an Instagram‘s Q&A sticker or questionnaire.
Alternatively, check what your competitors are doing. Go to their social media or About pages to find out the causes they stand for and how they support them.
For your inspiration, we list three brand authenticity examples from successful brands:
- Everlane. This fashion brand holds ethical practices in its factory and radical transparency where it reveals the actual costs behind the products.
- Ben & Jerry’s. This ice cream company joins various movements, including racial injustice and climate change.
- Taco Bell. This Mexican fast-food chain shares the complete list of ingredients in its meals and provides honest nutritional value.
Show Your Authenticity
After deciding on issues, you want to support, create authentic storytelling and display it on your marketing channels, including the business website, social media, and email.
Here are some tips on how to show your authentic branding:
- Include your employees. Develop a positive company culture and share the behind-the-scenes of your company.
- Feature user-generated content (UGC). Over 50% of consumers agree that UGC is the most authentic type of content. Examples of UGC include testimonials and customers’ photos or videos.
- Work with influencers. Collaborate with influencers that support the same cause as your brand.
A rule of thumb is to be genuine. A brand can’t promote ending exploitation if it sells products made using child labor. Assure the audience that you live up to the standards you promote and admit what you’ve done wrong if you make any mistakes.
Once you’ve shared your brand values and story, ensure that they’re consistent across all platforms.
Brand consistency reflects the continuity element of brand authenticity. Using inconsistent messaging may lead to suspicion and mistrust because it confuses people which side of your brand is real.
Follow these methods to build brand consistency:
- Create a brand guideline containing your mission, tone of voice, personality, and visual elements.
- Have a content calendar to keep track of your brand story.
- Participate in platforms and communities that align with your brand.
- Share your future goals and display the progress in your marketing channels.
Brand authenticity is associated with brands’ commitment to being honest and responsible in the eyes of their customers. This becomes significantly more important for businesses because the brand trust rate is lowering, and more people’s expectations are rising.
Authenticity can also make you unique, develop a solid relationship with customers, and improve profitability.
Follow these steps to build brand authenticity:
- Understand your brand identity and purpose, and figure out causes you want to support.
- Look for inspiration from the audience, competitors, and reputable brands.
- Show the authenticity of your marketing channels.
- Maintain the consistency of messaging throughout platforms and time.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the basic concept of brand authenticity and create authentic brand campaigns for your business.