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Authenticity: The New Key to Success in Marketing

As our media consumption grows, so does the amount of marketing content we see. It is estimated that in the digital age, we view around 6,000 to 10,000 advertisements or brand exposures daily.  

What’s more, the impact of such content is minimal. The increased exposure to advertising has labeled it as white noise to the consumer. Telemarketers, scams, and pop-ups that caused viruses have all contributed to a perception of advertisements as disruptive, annoying, and often irrelevant.  

The influx of advertising in the digital age has led to the “resistant consumer”, who is repelled by homogenization, saturation and deceptiveness, and drawn to honesty, genuineness, and authenticity. 

Marketing has pivoted in response – brands are now, more than ever, recognising the power of authenticity in marketing, especially on consumer-rampant platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.  

A survey of 1,590 consumers and 150 B2B marketers across the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia revealed a whopping 90% of consumers believe authenticity is important when deciding which brand they like and support. Marketers understand the importance of authenticity, with 83% believing it is very important to their brands, and 61% believing it is the most vital component of impactful content. 

Consequently, brands have shifted to building customer relationships based on connecting with their audience’s values. Authentic content has become king in the game of B2C marketing, and brands are taking note. So how do we emulate authenticity in marketing strategy? 

Remember: Strategy First 

At the heart of authenticity is staying true to your company’s mission and core values. It is important to first establish a brand identity and persona, and ensure your content aligns with this. Search for the “why” before you establish the “how” or “what”.  

Authenticity in marketing is all about whether your brand comes off as genuine. Your content should be relatable to consumers and at the same time, reflect your company’s values and tone of voice. By creating authentic content, you can build trust and loyalty with your customers.  

A 2019 study found that brand authenticity is linked to self-reinforcing assets, which entice the self, enrich the self, and enable the self. This subsequently influences the brand-self connectedness and consumers’ behavioural intentions. By promoting brand closeness to the consumer through shared values, companies can increase their competitive advantage and build a trusting customer relationship, which is iterative and regenerative, and over time has exponential benefits for the brand. 

Case Study: Patagonia 

An example of a company placing authenticity at the heart of its strategy is Patagonia. Since its establishment, the brand has emphasised its mission as creating quality products which minimise consumption and promote conservation. In 2022, the owners donated 98% of Patagonia’s common shares to nonprofit organisation Holdfast Collective, which will now be the recipient of all profits and use the funds to combat climate change.  

Consumer perception of the brand increased significantly after hearing of this decision. 42% of consumers who were aware of the brand are now more likely to purchase Patagonia products in the future.  

How to Build Brand Authenticity  

Building brand authenticity is not hard to do. By implementing a few strategic choices, you can connect with your consumers over shared values and build customer relationships based on genuineness and trust.  

Be Transparent 

Transparency is key to authenticity. Be open and honest about your company’s values, mission, and practices. Keep this transparency across your social media channels and marketing and web content. 

Engage with Your Audience  

Building that brand-customer relationship requires engagement with your audience. Make your customers feel heard by responding to their concerns, questions, and reviews. Use social media and other channels to facilitate this engagement. 

Be Consistent  

Ensure the message you advertise aligns with your brand values, mission, and practices. Are you living and breathing what you voice? Consumers are smart, and they can sniff out insincerity.  

Make Sure Your Content Has a Purpose 

Prioritise quality over quantity. Consumers don’t want to see a stream of endless content; they want quality content that they relate to. Google has taken note, with their helpful content update for search giving preference to useful, people-first content.  

Spotlight Real People 

User Generated Content (UCG) is key to authentic content. What better way to demonstrate authenticity than showcasing content that is created by customers? Publicising UCG and customer testimonials can humanise your brand and build trust with your target audience.  

Go Behind the Scenes 

By removing the “curated” barrier between your brand and audience, you can humanise your company and show your audience the real people behind the scenes. From content such as a “meet the team” series or recruiting staff for a video trend, you can connect with your customers and let them see that behind the brand are real individuals. 

Avoid Being Misleading 

The days of misleading tactics are over. Customers will notice if your brand uses manipulative advertising techniques, and trust can be broken. Focus on what’s real, aligns with your brand, and your audience will take note. 

Find the Right Partners 

Don’t just partner with any creator. When it comes to authentic influencer marketing strategy, look at your audience first. Hire influencers that are already genuine fans of your products, and the content will feel more authentic.  

Championing Authenticity  

With brands and consumers alike taking note of brand authenticity, there’s no question that it’s the new key to success in marketing. By championing authenticity, companies can build stronger customer relationships. Remember that strategy comes first – before the trends and tactics. Once you know what you want your brand to represent, you’ll know how to create authentic content that reflects this. 

This blog was originally published on Sentius Digital (View here).

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Written by Sentius Digital

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