be what you say you are

86% of consumers say that authenticity matters when buying a new brand

This is the twelfth of 20 daily ‘thoughts’ examining the trends in marketing in 2018 and beyond.I heard a populist politician on television last week suggest that Australians have the world’s best ‘bullshit radar’. Frankly, I doubt that Australians are any better at spotting ‘bullshit’ than anyone else, and I have certainly never seen any research that supports this parochial comment. That said, there is growing evidence to suggest that consumers as a whole are becoming better at spotting and much harsher at judging bullshit – from politicians, governments, and business alike.

A recent study found that 86% of consumers viewed ‘authenticity’ as important when considering the purchase of a new brand.

This highlights the importance of a brand being seen as authentic. Consumers value authenticity and actively look for it. They want a brand that is what it claims to be, that delivers what it undertakes to deliver, and provides the value it promises.

Another study found that 60% of respondents preferred user-generated content because of its authenticity.

This highlights the importance of communication being authentic. It also highlights the increasing scepticism of consumers who are well used to being promised the world and delivered an atlas. It reflects the consumers who have heard every promise, every platitude, all the hyperbole – and stopped believing it long ago.

Authenticity has been talked about a great deal in marketing literature over recent years but it is no more common in 2018 than it was in 2008. That is what makes it such a powerful tool – and a potential strategic competitive advantage. Further, research suggests that businesses that make authenticity a strategic competitive advantage will attract enhanced sales and margins.

So, what do authentic marketing and authentic communication look like? Well, try implementing the following:

  • Avoid platitudes and hyperbole
  • Communicate clearly and directly
  • Demonstrate listening
  • Be absolutely transparent
  • Avoid generalisations
  • Work only with facts
  • Establish a genuine connection
  • Demonstrate absolute consistency
  • Take full responsibility
  • Use language all parties understand
  • Deliver as promised – or exceed expectations

Consumers lack trust. Numerous surveys have demonstrated declining levels of trust, not just in politicians and government – but also in business and brands.My advice for most businesses would be to assume a lack of trust as the baseline and then work to build trust by being 100% authentic.

Use strategies, including those above, to present authenticity to your target audiences. Before doing so however, make sure you are authentic.


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