Building an Authentic Brand

There’s a lot of talk about what it means for brands to be authentic.  We’ve all seen brands that have a disconnect between their marketing messaging and their actions toward customers and employees.  How can we put authenticity at the core of our marketing efforts?  Well for starters, address your customers like they are real people, with lives outside of your product.  There are other considerations to have in mind when crafting brand strategy.

1)    Carefully Consider Brand Voice

Is your brand in any way relatable when you speak online or in traditional media?  While not every brand has to be as casual in their brand voice as, say, Wendy’s, speaking to your customers like they’re friends or family is always achievable.  At the end of the day, people don’t wake up looking to interact with a brand, so think of what else interests your customers.  What are they passionate about?  And what pain points might they have in their daily lives that your brand could solve?  Identifying these factors will inform your brand voice.

2)    If Your brand is Committed to a Cause, Stand Behind It

Customers aren’t dummies – they can tell when your brand is merely doing lip service by committing to a particular cause, especially if your other actions as a business don’t align with said cause.  Kat Von D Beauty, the indie makeup brand started by tattoo artist Kat Von D, gets it right.  Von D is a strong opponent of animal testing, and her brand reflects these beliefs.  The brand consistently supports organizations that protect animals, such as Project Chimps, and they weave this support into their messaging and products themselves.

3)    Don’t Try and Capitalize on a Movement if It Doesn’t Fit Your Brand

Pepsi is a great example of what not to do in this scenario.  Their much maligned and now infamous Kendall Jenner commercial attempted to capitalize off recent protest movements.  The execution was tone-deaf, and there was no reason for Pepsi to insert itself into that conversation.  Brands need to think about whether it is fitting to address a social or political movement, and how best to engage in the discussion if so.

4)    Use Your Platform to Dispel Myths About Your Category

One of the best ways to demonstrate authenticity?  Use your platform to get real with customers.  UK Feminine hygiene brand Bodyform has done just that, making it their mission to change the way we discuss and show the experience of having a period.  By consistently pushing the envelope with ads that are a far cry from the usual white-dress-wearing fodder we’re used to seeing, Bodyform has established themselves as an authentic and unique player in their category. The most important thing to remember when creating an authentic brand is that your customers aren’t fools – they can see through any half-hearted attempts at authenticity and will take their business elsewhere.