These days, it’s important to build an authentic brand. More than ever before, people are looking for a connection. This is something that you should keep in mind if you don’t already, regardless of how old your business already is.
Why is it important to build an authentic brand?
Brand authenticity is a hot topic, and for good reason. Building an authentic brand can increase customer loyalty, sales, and produce a company that thrives. It’s a great way to build life long fans because they know the walk you walk and that you mean what you say.
Wouldn’t you rather buy from a business that is 100% in your corner? And has proof to back it up?
So how DO you build an authentic brand, anyway? Why can’t you just… build a brand?
Building a brand and building an authentic brand pretty much sound the same, don’t they? You may be wondering what the actual difference is?
Have you ever gotten upset because a company you trusted did something that they swore they’d never do? Maybe they expressed views that weren’t in line with the things they say they value. Maybe you find out they’re not as ethical as they claim.
These brands are not authentic. They spin half-truths in an effort to look better. They make promises, but end up breaking them.
The truth is, anyone can build a brand.
But it takes a little more conscious effort to make it an authentic one.
These are three powerful ways you can build an authentic brand.
1. Core Values
Have you ever walked into a business and saw big bold words on the wall? Or maybe, the company has a pamphlet that explains how honest, loyal, and trustworthy they are. More than likely, these are the core values that this company prioritizes. Every brand is different and is going to value different things.
This isn’t to say you can’t value OTHER things, but you want your core values to be about 3-5 words or statements that are the MOST important to your brand.
This way, your ideal customers will look at the core values and recognize a kindred spirit in them. Your core values should also reflect the core values of your ideal customer.
After you figure your core values out, make them known. Turn them into an essential part of your brand and your marketing strategy. Make sure people know your core values on your website, promotional materials, and most importantly, in your culture.
Along with core values, you MUST be consistent.
Is there consistency in the way things look, your brand voice, and what you stand for? Do all your social media interactions reflect the values you have set up for yourself, or do you not walk the walk?
Consistency across the board is essential. Don’t just SAY you value something, PROVE you value it. Give to charities that support your core values, make sure every customer interaction is full of the values you support. It doesn’t take a lot, but your customers will be impressed. And trust you.
2. Honest Communication
It’s not enough to say you value your customers. You have to show them as well. That’s why customer service is so important. Your customers want to feel heard, validated and appreciated. They want to feel like family.
When you build an authentic brand, you’re committing to building trust and open dialogue with your customers. This is important in everything you do. Whether it’s keeping them updated on new technologies you are using in your business, new practices, or whatever it is, your customer wants to know. They want to support you, and they want you to be real with them.
Transparency is an important part of this. Let’s say you claim that your jewelry is sustainable. That isn’t enough, is it? You need to clearly define what sustainable means to you, and how your product fits that mold. Where do you get the materials for your product? In what ways is it sustainable? And even, in what ways does it fall short?
If you claim sustainability on your products, you know you are attracting ideal customers who value that. They want you to let them in on your exact business model, so they can feel secure in buying from you. Giving them the information about the products you are selling gives them more power in their spending and will see this as a win.
Of course, part of honest communication is admitting when you’ve made a mistake.
When you mess up, be open and honest about it. No one is perfect, but your honesty will help customers see you as trustworthy because you’re willing to admit your mistakes and apologize for them. Not a lot of brands are willing to do this, nor are they willing to address any issues they have.
A lot of times, these issues are things that customers are already aware of. So it does no good trying to hide it, especially in the long term. Communicate honestly and freely, and you’ll be considered one of the most authentic brands out there.
Have you ever heard a story of how someone came from nothing, and through seemingly magical circumstances, builds a stronger life than most people? Everyone has heard some version of rags to riches storytelling. It works because it allows us to dream that someday, we too might have our own rags to riches tale.
Storytelling is like the heartbeat of an authentic brand.
It helps explain your why and helps build the community that every successful brand has.
I will never stop preaching the importance of a good story. The great thing is, you don’t need to spin some magical tale. The story of your brand already exists, and it is awesome! The story of how you came up with your brand idea, what it means to you, these are things people want to hear. People want to see the heart behind what you are doing, so they can feel like they’re helping support a worthy cause.
So when you’re explaining your brand, don’t just say your values. Explain where you’ve been and where you’re going. Weave your story, in a way that compels your audience to join you on it. Social media is awesome for this. Don’t just tweet random menu changes. Tweet stories. Instagram stories. Even shoot some videos for Youtube about your company’s day-to-day and the people that make it amazing.
Remember: nothing is more powerful than a compelling story.
Powerful stories connect us in a way that makes us feel like we are less alone like anything is possible. Human connection is one of the most beautiful things. You may think that sharing your message, your brand’s journey and the people who inspire you should be last on your list, but that is where you’d be wrong.
Utilize social media. Tell your story. And your ideal customers will fall in love.
Building an authentic brand isn’t easy. It requires dedication, passion and a clear vision of who you are, what you represent, and presenting that image to the world consistently. If you approach your business with your heart on your sleeve, it will be noticed. And in the long run, not only will your customers appreciate it, but so will you.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to wake up every day and work at a place that makes you proud? Where you are being your true self?
When you cultivate an authentic brand, you do! And it’s the best feeling in the world.
Do you feel like this is amazing stuff, but you need a little more?
Maybe you are just starting your brand, and need some guidance on getting started?
Maybe you want to build an authentic brand, but just need to know how to build a brand. I get it. It’s not easy trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together.
Would it be helpful to have a guide showing you all the steps in-depth, specifically tailored to your own business?
My live program, Brand Crash, can ease the pain of figuring it out.
It’s a six-week course designed for the non-designer.
You will gain the skills and confidence you need to build an effective brand that SHINES YOU.
Some of the things covered are color palettes, font design, and layout of your website to look professional and unique.
Trust me, you don’t have to figure this out alone. We can do this together.