As seen in The Huffington Post
Newsflash. There are 7 billion brands in the world … and counting!
“Gasp! How is that?” you ask.
That’s because each person is a brand. This means that you should always steer your brand’s direction.
Now, the end game for many brands is to be profitable. However, for personal brands and businesses, particularly if your business is being a brand, there is one key element that’s needed today—authenticity.
We’re not talking about a gimmick or nonsensical jargon. This goes beyond having a competitive factor or personality. All brands need to showcase what they actually bring to the table. Yes, oh, yes. Get ready and pull up a seat. In a nutshell, brands today need to literally “keep it real.”
Why It Matters
When brands authentically convey their values, beliefs, and goals, this truly resonates with the public. In fact, it is believed that millennials have spurred the need for authentic branding. With $200 billion in annual spending power, millennials tend to seek brands that are trustworthy, according to a study by Elite Daily.
However, they are not alone. Approximately 65% of people that feel an emotional connection to a brand, say it’s because “they care about people like me,” according to a study by Customer Thermometer. Cue Sally Field’s famous response, “You like me. You really really like me.”
How To Build It
Personal brands and businesses can demonstrate their “care factor” by actually caring about their audience … and not just saying so. By showing and not just telling, brands are able to build trust with consumers and clients. The winning ingredients: transparent and honest communications.
Really real brands, the ones that I like to believe are RAW BRANDED®, are deeply in tune with their core values. These values move beyond their mission statements and pervade their marketing efforts. Authentic brands not only communicate these values, but they also walk the talk. This is critical since 80% of consumers said that the “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor that drives them to follow a brand, according to data by Slideshare.
Larger brands have caught on to this and shifted gears in their promotions. Dove, a Unilver brand known for its line of soaps, is big on empowering women and campaigning for real beauty. The brand has been using real women in its campaigns to demonstrate its values and attract female buyers.
However, Dove is also exemplary of when forced authenticity falls flat. In 2017, the company drew backlash from an ad campaign showcasing a Black woman seemingly transitioning into a White woman via Dove’s product. Although Dove believes that this message wasn’t its original intent, the brand received criticism, boycotts, and lost followers. Consumers were baffled at how a brand that totes diversity could approve such offensive content. Dove stands as a marked example of how authenticity fuels consumers’ trust and why this is essential.
Buffer, the social media scheduling tool, is yet another brand that is showcasing its authenticity by being consciously transparent. Embracing a self-described “default to transparency,” Buffer holds onto this notion as part of its core values. This is further demonstrated by Buffer’s actions. The company publishes employees’ salaries and financial reports on its website as a means of being open and accessible to the public, thereby walking the talk.
How To Make It Profitable
All brands can be authentic and profitable by first being conscious of their core values and beliefs. They should also be aware of how this aligns with the right audience, since like attracts like. The whole goal is to remain true to your brand and to build a relationship with your audience around these shared beliefs. This is how trust is formed and you become more likely to attract people who are willing to pay for your offerings.
In addition, consistency in your message is also key, as it means that you are never deviating from these core values. Hence, you avoid pulling a fast one on your audience and having to do damage control!
Where To Get More Information
Need more clarity on how to build an authentic and profitable brand? Join the RAW BRANDED® Masterclass, How To Build An Authentic & Profitable Brand. Save your seat and don’t miss out!
© 2017 – 2018, Renee A. Walker. All rights reserved.