By Lois Wandless
The modern day consumer’s increasing hunger for authenticity is pushing brands to adapt and evolve, however many are losing out simply because they don’t understand what it takes to be an authentic brand.
Recent research shows that brand trust among consumers is at an all time low, with many consumers becoming more skeptical of brands and searching for brand purpose and meaning. However brand authenticity is becoming ever more important especially among key consumer groups such as Millennials and Gen Z. Almost 90% of consumers when asked said that brand authenticity was important to them when deciding which brands to support.
In the era of technology consumers have gained accessibility to learn and engage with brands, and with this they expect more from their chosen brand than simply providing a service or product; consumers believe that brands can have the power to be a force for change. This concept is popular among Millennials and Gen Z consumers who demand authenticity when searching for a brand. Driven by economic hardships and a thirst for truth, Millennials and Gen Z are less likely to trust institutions and brands, they are the hardest consumer to win over yet make up a large consumer percentage. Gen Z are often referred to as “True Gen” due to their profound curiosity for truth and authenticity when it comes to global matters and brands, Gen Z are often likely to cancel brands if they discover negative truths. Currently Millennials and Gen Z account for 46% of the global population in 2021, which makes them the most important consumer segment.
How can you adapt your brand and become more authentic?
- Be Genuine
Every action you take a brand should have a justified purpose and reasoning, otherwise this defeats the objective of authenticity. In an age of social media marketing and trends it can feel like a good choice to jump onto fleeting and popular social trends however if this does not align with your genuine brand beliefs this can lead to brand distrust. The most important rule of brand authenticity is to stay real and true, after all that is what authentic really means.
- Show the Value of your Belief
Your brand values and beliefs align with your own beliefs but also resonate with the wider community and society. Brand storytelling is a key tool to use when translating your passion for your brand values, telling your audience not only why your values are important but what you’re doing to enforce these values within society. Nike is a brand that has shown strong authenticity in relation to supporting individuals standing against injustices, such as their support to Colin Kaepernick following his NFL career ending due to his protest against police brutality, and more recently supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Employee Appreciation
The key to finding out what beliefs are important is by involving your employees, finding out what they believe is important and will help you understand your true, authentic brand. These values can be built into your brand story but also can help you to determine the values you want people joining your organization to embody. Consumers love to know about not only your brand but the people who build that brand, translating your connection with your employees to your audience always makes for engaging content.
- Don’t be Afraid of Controversy
Sometimes doing the right thing can also mean doing the most difficult thing, this is important to consider when standing for your brand beliefs. Taking a stand for what you believe in can generate brand love among consumers this belief resonates with but you can’t appeal to everyone. Your beliefs may not resonate with everyone, although these people may not be your target audience be prepared to receive brand hate from belief naysayers.
- Spread Positivity
This one speaks for itself, a truly authentic brand has strong beliefs that are not only positive for the people within your brand but the wider community. While it’s important to speak up, remember that your overall should not insite negative beliefs or opinions and your values should be strong, consistent but most importantly positive.
Building an authentic brand can lead to increased consumer trust, which can be a powerful relationship to gain, consumers are 4 times more likely to buy from a brand they trust. When it comes to authenticity, don’t underestimate the importance of building and communicating your brand authentically as it is one of the most beneficial ways to expand your consumer base relationships.