For a brand to communicate with authenticity it must clearly live up to its values and be true to its beliefs This also reflects ‘why’ a company is in business. And this is fundamental for brands?
As the landscape for brands is changing all the time, increasingly, people are placing more importance on how a brand behaves, on its values and what it believes in. Trust can be built up (or instantly destroyed) by what a brand is saying and how it communicates. Authenticity is the key to gaining trust.
By focusing on what your brand values are, you will be able to communicate with confidence and establish some real points of difference. That is providing your values are unique to you and are authentic, of course.
With authenticity can also come controvesy. Brewdog’s approach to embracing the punk attitude as one of its values was to push the boundaries of advertising. In turn, this became a real culture of fear and deceit for the brewer, turning toxic when it filtered down to how it treated its own people.
What you stand for should be reflected in every level of your business, both to internal and external audiences. Begin by speaking to your employees and your shareholders. Their values should also inform your own brand values. When your brand values are a true reflection of what the company stands for you’ll find easier to talk with authenticty and in turn, grow brand loyalty. It’s only human, after all, to be more receptive to people with similar values to our own.
You can find out your brand values are by asking yourself what does your business believe in and what are your guiding principles? It can take time to establish this and it could even lead to uncomfortable truths about your brand which will also need to be addressed.
It’s important to focus on consistency. Through being consistent in what your are saying, easier ways of communcating will be fostered. On the flip side, inconsistency will alienate target audiences and can lead to distrust. If you say something; stick to it. You’ll be respected for this.
The importance of brand authenticity goes beyond the values. It is also reflected through your brand purpose and your brand personality. People will relate to the emotional aspect of the brand and will find it easier to connect as a result. The rewards are high for brand authenticity. Customers can become ambassadors for the brand. Brands can be well equipped to survive today and thrive tomorrow.
I’d also see this as something akin to planting a tree. The rewards will come over time. However, its better to invest in the future now rather than not at all.