It is natural to want to cut through to the truth – to gravitate towards what is unique in a saturated marketplace.
Especially in challenging times – people feel re-assured by the offering of ‘what you see, is what you get’. It is one reason why there has been so much commentary, albeit divided, around Nick Kyrgios. He is evidently authentic and good for business and sell-out crowds. However, his authenticity splits opinion, especially when it comes to his on-court and off-court misdemeanors, and how they should be viewed and dealt with.
The tension illustrates that there are various components at play when it comes to brand authenticity. That whilst being original is a prized commodity, there are other factors which influence the value of an authentic voice and ultimately a brand’s reputation.
Perhaps recognising that at the very heart of this pull towards authenticity is a frustration with the lack of inherent values, trust and consistency with what we hear and see every day. People have raised their standards and now expect more from the content they consume. Consumers want to trust the brands and companies they are investing their time and money in.
So, what does this mean for company communications and content in relation to standing out from the crowd?
Authentic communication today needs to be dynamic, multi-faceted, and importantly, transparent. At its very core, it needs to reflect the company’s mission and values, but these values need to be on display and lived consistently.
When you tell your story, show your human side to your key audiences. Is there a community program or commitment that can be established that reflects company values? How is the company giving back? Use real (not stock) images of your team and your product or service in-action when you can. Recruit other authentic voices for your content channels.
Be transparent, honest and consistent in all your messaging and communication initiatives. Ensure your corporate social responsibility (CSR) credentials are up to date, monitored, and match the expectations of employees, customers and other stakeholders. Use social proof like customer testimonials, reviews to break down barriers and as evidence that stakeholders appreciate your brand.
Continue to assess reputation risks by listening to key audiences and stakeholders using community engagement, audience research methods, stakeholder surveys, social listening and reputation risk assessment tools.
Building an authentic voice with key audiences that infuses transparency and displays company values in action will ensure it is resilient and that it continues to resonate with stakeholders, even in a fragmented and noisy media landscape. Share your truth, ignite your brand – just keep it real.