Authenticity has been a hot topic for a while now, but what does it actually mean and should we care?
In branding terms, authenticity refers to how open, transparent, and true a business is to what they talk about and sell (and we should definitely care!)
88% of consumers stated that authenticity is a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a brand to support (Stackla, 2021). We know that authenticity is a key factor in the buying decisions of millennials and Gen Z so if you’re after them, it's super important!
A study undertaken by History Factory (an industry-leading agency) in 2018 revealed that 90% of millennials & 85% of Gen X rank authenticity as the most important brand factor. As for Gen Z individuals, who grew up in the era of digital marketing & online advertisement, it’s safe to assume that percentage will rise even more.
This is why modern brands have a responsibility to display their values and authenticity through products/services, actions & marketing campaigns.
Patagonia is an example of a business that does exactly this. Their mission statement is “to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”.
They progress towards their goal by ensuring every decision is based on those values. This includes designing a product, hiring a new staff member, or funding an ad, they always keep their main purpose in mind. When a brand has an authentic purpose, they are responsible for utilising its platform to fulfil it.
Being authentic and transparent naturally leads brands to engage in issues that showcase their brand values. Selling a product/service isn’t enough anymore, consumers want brands to continue using their platforms to bring results.
They want brands that commit to a positive change and give them a reason to believe in what they offer.
In a survey done by Edelman, 86% of consumers expect brands to take one or more actions beyond their product and business.
This includes donating to good causes, addressing societal problems & humanitarian crises, and of course, supporting local communities,
Consumers want to align themselves with brands they feel represent them best. By showcasing your brand values across your product offering and marketing, you will instantly attract the ‘perfect’ customer. Job done!
The old days of marketing are long gone. Now, it’s time to remind people of the personal exchanges that take place within transactions. Giving consumers insight into the inner workings & actions of a brand, enables them to be viewed as ‘real’, opening the door of relatability. Sometimes, businesses can benefit from displaying imperfections & struggles.
A good example of this is Procter and Gamble’s ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign prior to the 2012 Olympics, showcasing the difficulties associated with motherhood.
The advertisement showcases mums and their struggles in raising young athletes.
Adding a touch of empathy for the viewers allows them to fully invest and connect to the story told. This ad campaign also helped build awareness for their plan to raise $5 million to help sustain & establish youth sports worldwide. This movement is directly based on their brand values of sustainability, community impact, & integrity.
In 2023, brands should strive to further establish their authenticity. There’s no need to mask imperfections & shortcomings anymore, especially when they prove to be useful for connecting with your audience on a deeper level.
Combine your brand values with authenticity, and your business will turn into a magnet for loyal customers.
We hope this article has helped you understand brand authenticity and its importance.
Make sure to get in touch with one of our experts if you’d like help crafting a killer marketing strategy for the upcoming year.