It’s the buzzword of the year: authenticity. Something millennial businesses have in spades and older generations can’t seem to find the formula for. Consumers today would rather shop from businesses they trust, can relate to, or share the same values as. For companies that were always successful with traditional marketing methods, it’s never been more important to get with the times. How can you be authentic in your marketing?
Storytelling is the crux of authentic marketing. It’s what gives your brand a personality, a history, and a purpose. The contents of your brand story are what make you different from your competitors. In the past, marketing campaigns would focus on products or services. Now, it’s better to use your brand story to explain a problem that we can all relate to. Then, as the solution, naturally suggest your products or services.
Next to having a brand story, the second-best way to market your businesses authentically is to have a social purpose. Look at the shoe brand, Toms. This multi-million-dollar B-corporation connects with socially conscious consumers (i.e. most of today’s consumers). For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. Consumers can buy a pair of shoes and feel good about their money also supporting a worthy cause. Toms has expertly crafted their brand story and used their social purpose in their marketing.
So, how can you apply these strategies to your business?
First, you need to do a deep dive into your brand’s mission. Why did your business get created? What problem does it solve? What obstacles has your business faced? How have you overcome those challenges? What is your why? Consider working with a brand strategist to help you craft your story in an authentic and marketable way.
Second, get charitable. Is there a charity or organization your company aligns with and could support? For example, if you’re a women’s clothing brand, consider supporting a women’s empowerment organization. If you offer tutoring services, consider supporting an organization that provides books to low-income libraries. Find a cause that aligns with your business.
Third, be transparent. Be open about your business practices and the ways you’ve improved to be more socially conscious. It’s okay if your company didn’t start as an eco-friendly, fair-trade business. Highlight how you’ve improved, who you are now, and the ways you’ve grown as a brand.
Fourth, get personal with your audience. The face of your business needs to be a face, not a logo. Networking is a major facet of your marketing strategy that needs to be authentic and social media is the perfect channel for it. Give potential customers a real sense of who you are as a brand through your posts, live videos, stories, and engagement. You could post behind-the-scenes live videos, interviews with experts, and success stories (not one-and-done testimonials!). Respond to comments and direct messages like a human, not a customer service bot.
Is making the transition to being more authentic is stressing you out? You’re not alone. This is a challenging obstacle for many brands who’ve always relied on traditional marketing. If you need help developing your brand and getting authentic online, send us a message or give us a call.