The answer is simple.
It is how your brand is perceived by your audience as genuine and honest. Your audience expects a certain level of loyalty, transparency, trustworthiness and realness. A true authentic brand reflects its customers’ beliefs and values. Your audience desires authenticity and they use brands to achieve self-authentication or confirm their desired identity (Belk et al., 1989)
According to the integrative framework and measurement scale, brand authenticity has four key elements:
Applying the above-mentioned elements to your business will show customers your loyalty to them and earn you a good reputation, which will ultimately lead to the success of your brand.
It’s important to build brand authority naturally, unforced, not staged, free from self-interest and commercial considerations (Klein’s No Logo, 2000). Just stating that you are authentic in your marketing is not enough. Authenticity is shown by every action of the company.
Building a community is one of the most effective ways to build brand authority. For example, Gymshark has experienced fast growth mainly due to the use of the Gymshark Central blog which allows them to prove credibility by allowing new and existing customers to interact and share their Gymshark experiences with each other. Also, Gymshark constantly posts valuable content that reflects that they care about their audience’s health.
Posting on social media alone, is not enough to build brand authority. It’s important to build relationships with your audience by engaging in regular conversations with them.
Making sure you respond to comments, DM’s and repost reviews will make customers believe that you care about them and want more from them than just a sale.
The below image is an example of how not to engage with your customers. A customer sent a DM which went unanswered, so they had to ask that question on the company’s Instagram timeline. This is a sure way to ruin a brand’s credibility.
Transparency is another really important factor when building authority.
It’s important for businesses to stand for something. However, instead of allowing your audience to guess what that is, it’s essential to open up about your values, policies and product offerings so you won’t have to start explaining yourself in the future. Being honest is key and according to research, 89% of consumers want companies to act with integrity at all times. This will result in customer trust and loyalty.
You can build transparency by telling your customers what is in your products, where it’s sourced from, who produces it and the process of product creation. For example, Primark wasn’t transparent enough in the beginning and were accused of using child labour and bad working conditions for their workers. This affected Primark’s credibility.
Currently, Primark has become more transparent about their production. They even have a global sourcing map displayed on their website so that the public can view information about their factory locations, workers and gender of workers.
If you say you are going to deliver something as a business, it’s important to stick to that promise. Avoid posting content that doesn’t match with your mission statement and core values. If your mission statement is sustainability and you are caught dumping clothes into a landfill, this would destroy your company’s credibility, integrity and not reflect the beliefs of your core audience.
Patagonia is a great example of a business that stays true to themselves. Their mission statement is to save our home planet and they stay true to this by supporting activists to find solutions to environmental issues. They even have an action page which connects their audience with local environmental campaigns.
All in all, creating a brand that acts on its core values will create long-term profits and incredibly loyal customers. It is important that your own personal values are embedded within your business so its easier to stay true and transaprent.
Mathieu, L., 2019. Brand authenticity leads to perceived value and brand trust – Emerald Insights [online]. Available at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EJMBE-10-2017-0027/full/html [Accessed 04 April 2021].
Beverland, M., 2009. Building Brand Authenticity – ResearchGate [online]. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316257154_Building_Brand_Authenticity [Accessed 04 April 2021].
Gymshark., 2021. Gymshark Central [online]. Available at: https://central.gymshark.com/ [Accessed 03 April 2021].
Lee, J., 2020. Why Brand Transparency Matters – Adroll. [online]. Available at: https://www.adroll.com/blog/marketing/why-brand-transparency-matters [Accessed 04 April 2021].