“Impressive” Won’t Win The Market. Try “Authentic”

By Lai Chee Seng|06-11-2021 | 1 Min Read
Source: Image from freepik.com

When was the last time you saw a message from a company – any message, any company – and you thought, “yeah, I have no problem accepting what they say at face value.”
 
Can’t remember? Neither can I. Trust is really hard to come by these days.
 
Building brand trust used to be about making sure your product quality met consumer‘s expectations. Then it was just a matter of explaining how great your product was. If you could impress your audiences enough, there’s a good chance they would buy.
 
Ah... those were the good old days.
 
New research shows that consumers are losing faith in brands. In fact, brand trust is at an all-time low. Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2020 found that consumer trust in brands are declining across sectors.
 

And if audiences don’t trust you, they are not going to listen to you.

Why are consumers losing trust in brands?

As products and services become more commoditised, it’s becoming harder for consumers to differentiate between brands and products. So the internet became the primary research tool of consumers. Blogs and content marketing became great sources of information for consumers who want to find out more about a product or service they want to purchase.
 
That was a great thing until it became the norm. That’s when 3 factors kicked in that started the downward slide of audience trust.
 
1. Audience’s radars are more sensitive now. There’s so much content marketing out there. And even so-called reviews and influencer endorsements are crafted marketing messages. Sifting through all the content has made consumers super-savvy. They can spot a sales pitch a mile away, and their guard automatically goes up and those messages get tuned out.

2. Audiences are fatigued from an over-saturated content and information market. So many people are saying so many things, who do we choose to listen to? As the digital channels continues to become more loud and cluttered, it’s only natural that audiences want to get some relief from the noise.

3. Audiences are hungry for something genuine. People are tired of all the frantic marketing messages driving them to spend and consume. What people are looking for now is not just a product or a service, but an AUTHENTIC experience – something honest and real, not carefully crafted to get their attention and money.

What is authenticity in branding?

Brands that practice authenticity have clear values and purpose, and are intentionally communicating it. As Simon Sinek says, start with the “Why”. “Why” does it matter that your product or service exist? What problems are you solving for your customers? This is a very different question from “What product or service am I offering?”
 
Take for example, doughnuts.
 
The answer to “What product or service am I offering?” would be “Doughnuts”.
 
The answer to “What problems am I solving for my customers?” could be “Convenience,” “Joy,” “Happy Children,” or any number of reasons why your business exists.
 
The days when you can grow your brand and promote your business with one-size-fits-all is quickly passing by. Today, audiences prefer to do business with brands that they feel a connection with, i.e. share their values, have a sense of purpose that adds value to them, and engages with them like friends.
 
Related:

How to start practising authenticity

As I had mentioned, being authentic means you are being true to your values and purpose and communicating that to your audience. Starting from there, here are 3 things to do to start building an authentic brand.
 
1. Be clear and consistent about your values. Your brand is how your business is perceived and experienced by your audiences and customers. Being clear and consistent draws people who share the same values and purpose. But if they experience any inconsistency, chances are they will lose trust in whether you are really walking the talk.
 
2. Be real. Nothing turns people off as much as knowing someone is being insincere with us. It’s true in human relationships, it’s also true in branding. So go ahead and admit mistakes, accept responsibility, be willing to let people see your imperfections. When you are real with your audiences, you gain loyal fans who are proud to align themselves with your company.
 
3. Tell your story. Letting audiences into the story behind why your business exists is a great way to connect. Let them see some what goes on behind-the-scenes, celebrate wins, share losses. Maybe to you, these aren’t anything that would impress audiences, but that’s not the point of being authentic isn’t it. Audiences appreciate seeing the real you because it gets personal. And if they identify with you, that creates another level of connection.
 
Ultimately, authenticity is what creates trust, just like any other relationship. You can’t put on an “authentic” image call it done. You want to have loyal customers who truly believe in and support your brand. For that, you’ll need to build a deeper and more genuine connection with your audiences.

You may like this: The Advantages Of Being (Seen As) Authentic

Businesses who want to survive in the future are going to have to keep up with this growing trend of expecting authenticity.

We hope this article got you thinking about your branding strategies and direction. Continue your journey with us. Watch this video - Don't Pretend You're Purpose Driven

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Lai Chee Seng is a writer, content writing trainer and thought leadership coach. In over 20 years of experience as a writer, he has written for a diverse range of industries and clients. He believes the key to impacting any audience,is not writing skill but influence and connection.
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