What does this mean for brands trying to make genuine connections with consumers? The products that make people feel good, even months after a purchase, aren’t the ones with HD screens or cute characters in their ads. They’re the ones with authentic brands attached -- brands that function like great friends who are always there. Consumers feel better using these products because of one simple yet hard-to-achieve element: authenticity. Remember that your core customers discovered you for a reason: They related to your story. I admire brands that show a commitment to themselves and their core customers, such as clothing brand BornxRaised. Entrepreneurs ask me all the time: "How do we market to people who have never used our product and don't know who we are?" Personalization is a fast track to trust because it assures consumers that you know and care about them. The only way to truly show consumers your authentic self is to expose behind-the-scenes content. So share stories like that one.
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The United States has a trust problem. While connectedness continues to grow — through social media and the internet of things — we, as consumers, are increasingly dubious of opinions and stories we see in the media and, especially, in advertising. In fact, according to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, over the past year, consumers’ trust in U.S. institutions has dropped to its lowest level on record.
What does this mean for brands trying to make genuine connections with consumers? In short, people have less tolerance for inconsistent views, throwaway comments and flashy campaigns. Clearly, there is a need for communication that honestly speaks to buyers.
Think, for instance, about the last five purchases you made that cost $100 or more. How many were truly good investments? And how many just left you with a vague sense of regret, as if you had been sold a bag of rocks?
This is a common feeling for consumers. As the dollar amount of purchases goes up, so does the risk of disappointment. The products that make people feel good, even months after a purchase, aren’t the ones with HD screens or cute characters in their ads. They’re the ones with authentic brands attached — brands that function like great friends who are always there. Consumers feel better using these products because of one simple yet hard-to-achieve element: authenticity.
If less well-known brands want to secure themselves a place in customers’ hearts and homes, they must practice authenticity. Otherwise, consumers will swiftly categorize them as looking to just profit from them as customers rather than relate to them as people.
Want to drive your own brand’s longevity through development authenticity? Here are three ways to find out what “authenticity” means for your brand and how you can start practicing it in every touchpoint customers share with you:
1. Keep your eyes on your own customers.
Remember back in grade school when your teacher told you to keep your eyes on your own work? There was a reason for that lecture. For one thing, it was to stop you from cheating, but it also helped you develop your own ideas and identity.