Introduction: Building a Brand is Not Easy
Building a strong brand can allow you to clearly communicate the values and goals of your business as well as make your business memorable and easy to recall. However, as you create a brand and bring your vision to market, there may be many challenges to overcome.
Customers can easily feel overwhelmed by the number of companies who are competing to acquire customers, with little or any element of differentiation setting them aside. Your developing a brand should allow you to clearly set your organization aside from the noisy competition and should be able to connect with your audience, not just because of what you do, but because of why you do it.
In marketing, we say that brands are not only a promise of consistency, they are “gut reactions” that our customers experience when they hear about our company.
In the past, the development of a brand was entirely focused on the customer, intended as an individual. By understanding what his\her drives and motivations are, marketers were able to create names, logos, designs, and payoffs that helped clients understand how a product could be the perfect solution to their problems.
In the last few years, however, things have changed as customers have started approaching brands in a much broader way, not only looking at what benefits a company can provide to its intended customer, but also paying attention to how a brand is committed to goals, values, and metrics that are not simply business-focused.
Customers are starting to ask the “what else?” question. What else is your company doing? How is it contributing to society in a meaningful way? What are the values that inspire your work and drive you?
In one word, customers want authentic brands.
This term, authentic, however, is not always simple to interpret, as, in fact, authenticity can mean different things to different people, so in this post, we’re discussing how you can create an authentic brand by looking into three different meanings of this adjective.
1. Authenticity is About Your Heritage and History
The first element to consider in your branding strategy is seeing authenticity as heritage and history. In simple terms, customers will tend to believe your value proposition and brand promise more easily if you’ve been in business for a long time.
Building authenticity through heritage and history can be a challenge for many new organizations which don’t have a long track record, but this should not stop you. In many instances, businesses are able to build heritage through the journey and life of their founders. Company founders can build a compelling and fascinating narrative that tells your customers the “why” behind your organization. The reason why you’re in business and what vision has inspired you to keep pushing forward through the many challenges that come with building a company.
In this sense, a focus on storytelling and narrative-building is essential to explain the journey that your business and your team took to finally be able to deliver your products and services.
2. Authenticity is About How You Do Things in Your Unique Way
Another element of authenticity relates to the idea that your business that there’s something really special about your business that makes it stand out above all others. In this sense, you need to think about what is it that your company is doing differently from any other.
Authenticity comes not just from your unique story – as discussed in the previous paragraph – but also from the process you follow to create your products or provide your services.
In many industries, the process is everything. An otherwise completely commoditized or indistinguishable product can acquire a premium price tag because of your special way of creating it, because of its unique components, or because of the time invested in perfecting it to the last detail.
In this sense, your manufacturing or service operations are a source of authenticity for your brand that contributes to your customer’s perception of value.
3. Authenticity is About Not Putting Profit About All Else
Last but not least, another dimension of authenticity is connected to the values of your business and what objectives it pursues. A business that wants to be perceived as an authentic organization needs to prioritize the impact it is making on its community of customers and on the environment. A business that is putting profit on top of its goals will have a high risk of alienating many of its customers. Through their shopping votes, customers feel as if they are not just buying a product, but are contributing to a bigger cause.
In this context, we’re seeing many brands in several industries taking some time to assess their sustainability impact and revising their strategies to make sure they’re doing more than just selling a product. Authentic brands need to build relationships that revolve around values that matter and are valuable to their audiences.
Great! Now that we’ve covered three perspectives on how to develop an authentic brand we can move on to our summary and conclusions.
There you have it! In this post, we’ve explored three different dimensions of authenticity for your brand.
As we discussed, authenticity can mean different things.
It can mean that your company has been doing what it is doing for a long time, and you have learned a thing or two along the way.
Authenticity means that there is something unique about your way of doing business, which is hard to replicate and is not afraid of competition.
Lastly, and most importantly, authenticity means that your company is not putting profits above all else. There are values, principles, and ideals that inspire your work that escape the traditional logic of the bottom line.
Building a brand is a complex process, and we’re only scratching the surface here. If you’re interested in reading more about how to create an authentic brand, here’s a reading recommendation:
“How to Launch a Brand” is a fascinating read for anyone looking to create a brand. It is a challenging but potentially very rewarding goal.
Moreover, if you’re interested in reading more free content on marketing and branding don’t hesitate to explore our blog further. Enjoy!