Brand Authenticity: Don’t Just Say It, Be It

Hummingbird CreativeBranding & Creative

Brand Authenticity - Boomers in a Convertible - Hummingbird Creative Group

In a study performed by Cohn & Wolfe, a global PR firm, they found that half of Americans trust small firms to do the right thing, but only 36 percent trust large firms to do the right thing. 89 percent of customers expect companies to act with integrity at all times and, in fact, rated integrity as more important in their purchasing decision than product quality and innovation.

Millennials are driving the market desire for authenticity and authentic engagement. CMO Digital Forum found that companies can make huge missteps when using traditional methods of branding with their non-traditional Millennial customers. Millennials are digital natives– they’ve grown up in an online world full of infinite choice. Previously, Baby Boomers were the largest segment of consumers, and Generation X fell into the same buying patterns as their parents. Companies have grown to rely on traditional methods of advertising, the kind of tactics that worked on the Baby Boomers.

But Millennials are different than the generations before them. They expect different things from the companies they buy from, and with $1.78 trillion dollars in spending power, companies can’t afford to ignore those differences. One of the key differences is what millennials value: brand authenticity.

The question of authenticity has shifted. It was once “should we be authentic?”, but now companies are having to ask themselves “how do we actually prove we’re authentic?”. Authenticity is no longer a choice in the marketplace. Just simply saying your company values authenticity is no longer appealing to consumers, they want to know how you’re actually implementing your authenticity.

“Image is everything”Andre Agassi

One of the easiest ways to show your consumers your brand is authentic is through social media. 72 percent of millennials are on Facebook, and they spend 20-21 hours on social media sites each month.

There is a catch to social media marketing. If you’re only selling products and self-promoting, you’re not going to reach the millennial audience because millennials don’t want to be talked at, they want to engage and look for a genuine service.

Look at some of the top ranking authentic brands: Heinz, Disney, Ferrari, Google and more. What are they doing that other brands aren’t?

  • Don't Say It, Be It

    Don’t just say that you’re authentic, that in-and-of itself screams “fake”. Instead, be authentic. Assume that every claim you make will be heavily researched and looked into no matter how big or small it seems to you.

  • Leave Your Comfort Zone

    Don’t necessarily get rid of traditional methods of market research, like focus groups, but begin to engage more on social media. You’ll meet a broader range of people who use your product or service and figure out what they love about what you’re offering. And, you’ll also meet people who don’t like your product. There’s value in that information– even if you may or may not want to hear it.

  • Put a Face to Your Brand

    Consumers don’t want to feel like they’re getting a canned response from a social media department. Engage with them, talk to them, offer advice and thank them for their thoughts. Ditch the formal syntax in favor of a more casual feel that mimics your customers’ speaking patterns.

  • Make Use of Video

    Your consumers know that images can be faked very easily; there are even apps on a phone that can change how an image looks. Videos, however, tend to hold more credibility. Prove your brand’s transparency with a video and show how your product is being used. You can create quick and easy tutorials and how-to guides at a relatively low cost to your business.

Your business doesn’t have to stay small to inspire brand authenticity. You just need to know what your brand stands for, understand what your customers are looking for and consistently deliver on your promises.

Authenticity can’t be faked, but it can be learned by listening to your customers.


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At Hummingbird Creative Group, we build business value through better branding. Contact us to find out how we can build your business’s value:
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