Business Personal BrandingPersonal BrandingSocial media

What does being authentic mean for you and your brand

I came across an interesting quote the other day that made me think about why we place trust on particular brands and perhaps we trust the brand because of its authenticity. 

Consumers are trusting individuals more than brands – Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter

I then began to question – what attribute of the brand do we trust? For what reason do we stay loyal to particular brands?

Brands in essence promise consumers that it will deliver on their (the consumer) expectations.  Advertising this would be seen as a catchy tagline. Two examples being:

Ronseal – “Does exactly what it says on the tin”

L’Oreal – “Because you’re worth it”. 

Brands wish to stand out from its competitors and promote its authenticity in the eyes of the consumers.  Taglines like these are attributes of the brand and in essence they play on what the company constitutes as being the consumers’ feelings, needs and wants.  This method still works in a way, but in today’s fast paced digital age where information is literally at our fingertips, a change is needed to keep up.  The way brands communicate needs to be addressed.  Companies run the risk of communicating brand attributes but lack the true identity of the brand. The stand-alone tagline is no long enough; the identity of the brand is absent.   Consumers of today need to learn that bit more before they commit to a purchase; they wish to be educated on what exactly they will be purchasing.  Therefore, a search into the background of the product is more likely to take place than searching for the product itself.

This is where the personal branding part comes in.

We tend to look for the relevance of authenticity on a continuous basis from personal relationships to professional ones from hiring a plumber to suppliers.  This is the same for your customers when they consider your product or service.  Who should we trust?

Here in Ireland we have some amazing companies producing top notch products and services that are being exported world-wide.  Ryan Air, Guinness, Barry’s Tea are some prime examples of companies who have grown and their brand stays true to itself as originating here in Ireland.  Smaller and newer companies such as Cocoa Brown beauty products, Human and Kind, Voxpro and TeamWork are establishing themselves as reliable and trustworthy brands throughout the world.  These newer companies were able to establish themselves online to catapult to success, but not only the brand itself but also the person behind the brand.  I will use the example of Cocoa Brown again.  Marissa Carter, the founder of Cocoa Brown is highly active on social media platforms.  She documents on a continuous basis on how it is to grow a business; the manufacturing of her products; asks for customer feedback directly to her as well as the overall promotion of her products.  This is how to gain the trust of the consumer.  This is true, authentic, genuine and unique personal branding technique to support and grow a brand.  Marissa’s team also share her vision and document their own work through their own social media platforms.  So we, as consumers, know what is like to work as a team member of Cocoa Brown.

Capitalising on your human asset promotes teamwork, trust, value and authenticity of a brand.

A study was conducted in 2014 in Germany (Schallehn, M; Burmann, C; Riley, N., “Brand authenticity; model development and empirical testing” Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 23) where it concluded that brand authenticity positively impacts on brand trust through consistency.  Studies like these are still in their infancy but the realisation is that there has been a shift in habits of consumers when it comes to brands.  The way brands communicate with its audience needs to examined. 

Social media platforms are the way forward with capitalising on teamwork.  It will be interesting to see how companies use these techniques in the future.  Social media platforms are changing and allowing brands to communicate with various audiences.  If you thought your message wouldn’t be suitable for a platform like Snapchat, check out Instagram stories.



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