Consumers have trust issues with brands. They are skeptical of brand messaging and instead often turn to their peers to inform purchase decisions. They also want honest relationships with the brands they support.
Indeed, 63 percent of global consumers said in a survey that they would buy from a company that they consider to be authentic over all other competitors. Consumers will reward the companies that communicate honestly about their products. They'll shun those that do not.
So, what makes for an authentic brand? How can your brand become more authentic? Here are seven habits of remarkably authentic brands.
1. Listen to your customers.
Your customers are talking about your brand online. Word-of-mouth has expanded to social media, and customers are voicing their opinions about your products. Find out 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. Some 83 percent of consumers said in a survey that they like it when a company responds to them on social media. So, join the conversation and "like," "comment" and "share" positive submissions. Also, do your best to accommodate the negative consumers.
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 way, the millions of photos that customers post online may not be reflecting your brand message. Customers can do a lot to shape and enhance your brand lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to let go and collaborate with customers to build a stronger and more authentic brand.
3. Stand behind your values.
In the outdoors industry, you hear a lot about representing “the tribe” and how outdoor brands cater to the values of their community. In particular, you hear about brands wanting customers to believe in what they stand for, not just to buy their products.
What this often means is that brands position themselves behind causes their community supports. Some 64 percent of survey respondents have cited shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. Clearly stating your values is a mark of brand authenticity.
4. Be honest.
Authentic brands represent their products in a truthful way. Some 91 percent of customers said in a survey that they believed that brands should represent their products honestly. What this means is that you don’t deceive your customers with distorted reviews and product images.
Offer transparency by displaying customer-created photos collected from social media on your product pages directly, next to your stock images. That will give your customers a greater sense of transparency and trust.
5. Personalize your outreach.
Show your customers that you care about their needs. Seventy-three percent of consumers said in a survey that they preferred 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 a tailored email marketing campaign.
6. Embrace your story.
Chances are, you have a powerful story line that you are not putting to use. It might be an amazing founder’s story or simply a declaration of why you believe in the brand you represent. Whatever it is, 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. Everything is about building a brand story, a story that your customers can see themselves in.
7. Make every day matter.
Remember that consumers are interacting and buying from 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.