April 20, 2023
With everyone so aware of “influence” in marketing, connecting with customers is more important. In fact, it’s essential.
In the traditional business landscape, we wouldn’t describe business relationships as “intimate” - to be honest, it would seem a little odd. Usually, what comes to mind is nothing more than a simple transaction, especially if there’s no face to a company. In a tech-savvy world where ads are everywhere you turn, it’s easy to tune out those who entice solely with the purpose of selling. It’s easy to spot and reject a facade. With everyone so aware of “influence” in marketing, connecting with customers is more important. In fact, it’s essential.
Translating personal traits of authenticity into marketing simply means to be real, genuine, and true. Reflecting on a lack of sincerity is the first step to authentic marketing and the simplest way to achieve that is to understand the brand. What is the purpose of the company? Once you have the answer, be open about it. Like the process of making friends, starting with the intention of being transparent is crucial. Otherwise, not much will blossom. Being vulnerable with customers by letting them see all the ins and outs of the brand allows for a natural connection. And, like people, some customers won’t connect with you. That’s ok. Along with knowing the company and its purpose, getting to know the audience is equally important. With this understanding, marketing becomes less of a "one size fits all" approach and more of a tailored, specific strategy. It shows genuine acknowledgment of the clientele. By investing in a connection with customers, trust develops.
The way a person sounds says a lot about them, which is why the tone of an organisation is important. It is a distinct trait that can be used to be relatable, and ultimately, connect. Authenticity can be further embodied by developing a brand’s voice. As said by Bernard May, “Keep your message and tone consistent. If you're clever, be clever. If you're snarky, be snarky. It’s the inconsistency of this tone that can sound fake”. Coming back again to knowing the company and allowing it to be seen for what it is, this method of transparency is beneficial because it adds to the uniqueness of the brand, which in turn will help it stand out.
On top of that, authentic marketing can look like showing what a brand values, taking the time to inform and educate, and having a brand story among other things. But a crucial point to take in, is that the brand and consumers are equal. When marketing a product, it should keep within the boundary of providing a service, however, the product shouldn’t be presented as superior, or as a “superhero”, as Douglas Karr says. Positioning a brand over the consumer will come off as many things, authentic not being one of them. If anything, the customer should have that superhero role in marketing to best show that the brand is genuinely interested in serving them.
With being open and having a voice that is true to the brand, like minded customers will be attracted. Although there may be common interest between the brand and consumer, it does not mean there will be a true understanding of what’s wanted. Engaging with clientele is a must, and to understand customers, listening is necessary. In marketing, that looks like customer analysis through customer feedback left online, or even requesting it through surveys, interviews, etc. From there, a brand can learn about consumer wants, and adjust accordingly. These changes could be in aspects such as product design and functionality, customer service, overall experience, and so on.
Reaching out to customers and changing based on their input is an act of authenticity; it shows what they say matters. Just like in a friendship, customers will return to brands who they feel are real, listen, care for, and understand them. Much like going back to a good friend.
Branding is a powerful tool, as it moulds a person, or in this case, a customer’s perception, and this perception rules behaviour.
ESG, a socially-conscious practice that helps investors think about what a company’s values lean toward prior to making any kind of choice.