Consumers have trust issues with brands. They are skeptical of brand messaging and instead turn to peers to inform their purchase decisions.
Consumers want honest relationships with the brands they support. They reward the companies that communicate honestly about their products and shun those that do not.
Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of global consumers claim that they would buy from a company that they consider to be authentic over all its competitors.
Here are seven essentials for brand managers to convey and maintain authenticity:
1. Listen to your customers.
Your customers are talking about your brand online. Word-of-mouth has expanded to social media, and customers are voicing their opinions about your products. Find out what your customers are saying.
Monitoring social media can help you learn how customers use your products and what they like and dislike about interactions with your organization. Eighty-three percent of consumers like it when a company responds to them on social media. Join the conversation and “like,” share and comment on positive submissions. Also, do your best to address negative ones.
2. Let go of who you think you are
When you start listening to your customers on social media, you might learn something. The billions of photos that customers post online might not reflect your brand message. Customers can do a lot to shape and enhance your “brand lifestyle.” Collaborate with customers to build a stronger and more authentic brand.
3. Stand behind your values
In the outdoors industry, you hear a lot about representing “the tribe” and how outdoor brands cater to their community’s values. Particularly you hear about brands wanting customers to believe in what they stand for, not just to buy their products.
What this often means is that brands position themselves behind causes their community supports. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. Clearly stating your values is a mark of brand authenticity.
4. Be honest.
Authentic brand managers represent their products in a truthful way. A hefty 91 percent of customers believe that a company should represent its products honestly. Don’t deceive your customers with distorted reviews and product images.
Boost transparency by displaying customer-created photos collected from social media on your product pages directly next to your stock images.
5. Personalize your outreach.
Show your customers that you care about their needs. Roughly three-quarters (73 percent) of consumers prefer to buy from companies that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant.
With today’s technology, you can upsell customers based on what they have bought in the past. Offer complimentary product discounts through package inserts, Instagram display ads or a tailored email marketing campaign.
6. Embrace your story.
You probably have a powerful storyline that you are not sharing. Whether it’s an amazing founder’s story or simply why you believe in the brand you represent. Consumers want to know why you care about your brand. If they find why you care compelling, you might persuade them to care as well. Everything is about building a brand story, a story that your customers can see themselves in.
7. Make every day matter.
Remember that consumers are interacting with and buying from brands each and every day. When it comes to being authentic, you must be consistent. You should actively work to ensure that every interaction a customer has with your org leaves a positive vibe.
You don’t get to take a day off representing your brand. Create great marketing collateral that reflects your authentic brand voice, and stay attentive and helpful to your customers.
Juliet Carnoy is marketing manager at Pixlee, where a version of this article originally appeared.