If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a small business looking to discover the most critical element you need to make sure your marketing is effective. You’re certainly in the right place. We cannot stress this enough — if you only do one thing right with your marketing, let it be this: authenticity.
Huh? What do you mean by “authenticity”? We hear you say. Well, authenticity within a marketing context refers to getting rid of any marketing fru-fru and conducting your business more honestly. In today’s digital age, it is becoming increasingly easy for businesses to put out a tidal wave of marketing messaging, from product ads to promotional blogs on social media — brands now constantly vie for their customers attention. As consumers get exposed to more marketing messages and to a global array of brands, how can your business stand-out? The answer is: authenticity.
To quote Fabrik Brands;
“Brand authenticity isn’t a complex idea. It’s simply a decision to be more honest in everything you do.”
Millennials and Gen Z have been shown to distrust brands and their marketing efforts. It’s also shown that these generations decide how to spend their hard-earned cash based on more than just product and price. The core values of your business, aka “the why” you do business, shapes Gen Z and the Millennials’ involvement with your brand more than almost any other factor!
So, how do you figure out your brand’s purpose? In another one of our blogs, “Embracing Your Purpose”, we talk about learning to really develop a sense of who, why, and what you are when it comes to your business — combining all three of those things successfully gives consumers a reason to believe in your brand.
But let us show you what we mean when we say authenticity is paramount to your brand’s success:
“Savage X Fenty” Rihanna’s (yep, that Rihanna, the famous singer and our bad girl RiRi) lingerie brand, swore from its conception to be a brand that celebrates all women. “Savage X Fenty celebrates fearlessness, confidence and inclusivity”. This core value is demonstrated across a range of their business decisions. For example, their products come in inclusive sizes, and innovative colours that suit a wide range of skin tones. Savage X Fenty was purposefully made for ALL women. It’s this authentic approach towards the inclusion of groups that have been marginalised in the fashion industry for so long, that has made Rihanna’s brand so much more powerful.
Their inaugural fashion show included dancers and models of different ethnicities, hair types and sizes. The show featured differently-abled models, models with Vitiligo, transgender models and more.
Savage’s instagram follows through with this core value; showing different women feeling sexy in their body and of course the Savage lingerie.
The feedback from women across the globe have proven just how effective this focus on authenticity has been for Savage X Fenty. Surely, these are the types of comments you want your customers to make about your brand, right?:
So why does a lingerie brand launched by a famous R&B artist matter? Because it can be used as a crash course to help you improve your own business authenticity! From the beginning, Savage had defined their purpose and their core values. These values flowed through to every single business decision the brand made and are clearly communicated to their target audience. This consistency of messaging and the brand’s focus on something other than making sales, allows for their customers to believe the brand’s story and to feel aligned with its values.
Now it’s time to get cracking on improving your own brand’s authenticity:
Step One: Spend some time focused on “the why” your business exists
Step Two: For each business activity you carry out, ask yourself “does this element of my business work to fulfill its purpose?” If it does, great job! Keep going. If it doesn’t, then it may be time to make some adjustments.
Step Three: Clearly communicate why you’re doing business and show your audience how you are following through on those values. Don’t allow your marketing to be 100% sales focused, instead focus on communicating how you are operating to your business purpose. Customers who share your values will naturally gravitate towards your brand.
Step Four: Rinse and repeat — no brand is ever perfect, you have to keep working at it every day.
We hope we’ve made it very clear to you why authenticity is possibly the most important thing for your brand to focus on. Transparency and honesty goes largely unnoticed at times, but seems to be overwhelmingly underestimated in many company missions and core values. Guess it’s true what they say, it takes a little to lie, but a lot to tell the truth. In saying this, if businesses choose to be authentic from the start, they will find that their efforts won’t become null and the rewards they reap will be extremely beneficial for them in the long-run.
(Article originally written for Bento Box Design Studio).