In an era where trust in brands has declined across all sectors, authenticity is cemented as one of the attributes that matter most. Customers expect more than just a product or service from brands. They want value for what they pay for, but most of all they want those brands with whom they share values.

A study by Cohn & Wolfe highlights that 87% of consumers value brands acting with integrity at any time, and authenticity even takes precedence over factors such as innovation and exclusive product. What has happened for this transformation? Well, the answer lies in the generational change that, driven by millennials, is asking companies to have a purpose greater than mere business and make their contribution to building a better world.

Gone are the days when you could influence people through strong advertising impacts. Today, actions are more important than words and this generation is very suspicious about what brands say. Millennials form their own opinion by searching for and sharing information. And in this quest, authenticity is key for those brands that want to survive.

Talking about authenticity is not the same as talking about honesty.

Honesty is an important factor in building authenticity, but it’s not everything. A brand is authentic to the extent that consumers perceive it to be true to itself, honest with customers, responsible with what surrounds it, and able to help customers stay true to its principles.

A number of factors are intertwined in an authentic brand:

Honesty, integrity, transparency, consistency, reliability, vision, uniqueness, experience, empathy and social concern.

How to build an authentic brand?

  1. Involvement

Being authentic takes time. It is important to cultivate relationships, let them get to know us, and take care to get to know them well. Get involved in what you stand for and show that you’re there and you’re not going to leave them out.

  1. Consistency

Make sure your brand’s purpose, values, and story are aligned on all levels, both internally and externally. Any deviation can cause significant damage to your credibility.

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  1. Listen to me

It’s not about what you’re able to tell, it’s about how much you’re able to hear. Answer customers’ questions, keep the conversation going, provide them with information, make them feel like you really care about them.

  1. Integrity

You have to stay true to your values, to what you stand for. You have to be very clear in what you communicate, and you have to provide transparency about many aspects that you probably haven’t communicated yet. It’s important to focus on integrity in all your actions.

  1. Own up to your mistakes

Customers don’t expect perfect brands, but they do expect honest ones. Admit your mistakes quickly, be honest and provide ways to solve them.

 

Building an authentic brand involves all levels of the business. It makes it necessary to understand how the true raison d’être of business brings value to society. Brands perceived as authentic lead to greater loyalty and better business results. Do you have the courage to be yourself?

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward

Photos: Shutterstock

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