Are you comfortable being authentic?

Fuel Marketing Blog ImageMarketing by its very nature is not known for its authenticity. Let’s face it Persil never made your whites whiter and who voted British Airways the world’s favourite airline? However, nowadays customers are beginning to have more trust in advertising and marketing and as a result are looking for honest and genuine experiences and interactions with brands. It’s worrying therefore to see that some brands are still failing to be true to themselves as they continue to overpromise and under deliver with almost carefree abandon.

What is authenticity?

Authenticity isn’t perfect or safe but it is real. Being authentic means being transparent across all of your marketing channels. And because your audience knows you well, you have to be direct and honest and remove any misleading information. It’s being friendly, forthright and responsive and presenting yourself as a “real” brand in words, in visuals, in advertising and via customer service.  Authenticity allows you to bring value to customers regardless of the method of interaction. It boils down to understanding your customers and understanding what they want and expect from you.

Knowing that you will never appeal to everyone is key. Basically take a stand and stick to it. And whilst it’s important to know and listen to your customers, you have to stay true to what your brand stands for (its values and beliefs) and not waver in the face of public pressure!  Marmite has built its entire brand on the idea that its products repulse many people, whilst Apple and Microsoft are similarly divisive, creating loyal and often militant clans.

Is your business relevant?

Why is your business relevant? It’s not enough any more to say, “We make the best home-made tomato sauce.” Essentially your customers are all over it and they don’t believe you. They want to know whether your tomato sauce is organic or not, where and how you harvest your tomatoes and the reasons why you love tomato sauce. They also want to find out whether you make it in a massive factory with other brands, or in small batches on your kitchen table in a small farmhouse near the steady flow of a shady river. Of course you’re still selling tomato sauce, but you also need to tell an authentic story that shows passion, pizazz, progress and personality.

Live in your own skin

Fakers and those with their ability to trot out perfectly rehearsed and unproven propositions need not apply. Canny consumers can see through your thin veneer of broken promises and stuff that hasn’t and won’t ever add up. So play your authenticity card and live in your own skin, not anyone else’s. Tell your story, don’t retell anyone else’s, and try to cut through the communication clutter. Remember like any story you need to start at the beginning and tell people what you do and why you do it. And true beauty, power and truth in marketing come only when you are honest enough to be yourself!

For help in establishing authenticity in your marketing, contact Vicky Boulton at fuel on 07766 566690 or email vicky@fuelmarketing.co.uk