As a Digital Customer Experience Agency, we help organizations of all shapes and sizes build strategies and implement solutions to digitally engage, sell, and support their customers.
An often asked question we encounter is how a business can make their website and their inbound marketing strategies more effective.
“How do we get more traffic?”
“What does it take to get more leads?”
“How do we stand out?”
There is a whole slew of technical and foundational requirements to enable an efficient and functioning Inbound Marketing effort. Any single missing element can cripple an inbound marketing campaign—producing inferior results.
However, most often, we find a critical component is missing from the content and brand image that these organizations display to the world… Authenticity.
Authentic brands form connections with their audience, through genuine engagements and supporting causes that resonate.
“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
― Howard Schultz, Former CEO of Starbucks
We Love Authentic Brands and So Do Consumers.
Consumers are more socially aware, informed, and connected than ever before, and they are well aware of their consumer authority. If brands wish to compete, they need to meet savvy consumers’ requirements who can quickly see through disingenuous marketing.
Authenticity is a powerful and often overlooked aspect of brands, but it is an exceptional vehicle for forming connections with your customers.
“Nearly nine out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52 percent who would recommend the brand to others and 49 percent who would pledge loyalty to the brand.” (Source)
People want to see a reflection of themselves in the brands they choose.
For brands to achieve this, they need to share something about themselves with the consumer openly and honestly. They must form a connection over common ground and stand for something other than simply extracting money.
Authenticity can bridge this gap and form an identity that resonates because, by its very nature, it’s honest and genuine.
Authenticity is even more important with digital engagements where inbound marketing strategies are used. Inbound methods of building awareness and attracting customers require organizations to craft meaningful and valuable content that customers want to engage with.
It’s no surprise that customers want to interact with content that resonates with them and is refreshingly honest.
What is Brand Authenticity?
Authenticity is your brand’s story, what you stand for, and the integrity of your messaging and actions. To convey this to customers, you must first be able to recognize what your brand represents.
Why do you do it?
How do you do it that makes you different?
What do you do?
What are you passionate about?
How will you MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
By weaving these elements into your messaging and image, your audience can form an emotional connection and convey substance. When you speak about who you truly are, your presence becomes consistent, honest, and personable… That’s authentic.
How Do You Harness Authenticity?
Brands often struggle to find authenticity in their marketing because they only focus outward and on what their products and services do. While this information is critical, focusing solely on this type of recurring marketing reduces your communication into transactions rather than meaningful engagements.
Exposing your authentic brand is an intimate prospect that reveals the character of your organization and its people. It can be intimidating being on display, but the raw and seemingly risky nature of being true to yourself is what makes it so powerful.
Now I’m not saying go out and alienate people, be brash, or niche yourself into a tiny market, but you need to know what your brand is and how to share that with the world.
There are many things that genuine brands do really well. They are:
Authentic brands portray these traits in every message. If you’re inconsistent or lacking in one of these traits, you risk becoming disingenuous.
We suggest our partners start their journey to becoming an authentic brand by adopting a cause they are passionate about.
Choose a Cause. Get Involved and Share The Journey.
Jump into a cause and help communities at large.
Don’t simply associate with a cause to push a promotion or bandwagon views. Again, this is easily detected by consumers as a facade.
Rather, find a cause that you and your organization believe in and champion it. Truly try to be of service to others, and it will reveal to others what you stand for.
Organize your communities, raise awareness, donate funds, educate, provide a platform, and empower people. Whatever you can do, it doesn’t matter what the cause is. Just find one to support that you believe in and share it with the world.
Doing so will give your brand authenticity and character and resonate with others beyond simply being the best product or service.
The effects on your organization of adopting a cause are tangible.
The Benefits of a Cause… (Beyond Goodwill and a Better World)
The benefits of getting involved, giving back, and being committed to a cause are obvious and plentiful. Adopting a cause…
- Empowers your team.
- Elevates your business and differentiates it from competitors.
- Drives change in the world and provides substance to your business.
- Inspires and motivates both internally and externally to your organization.
- Helps people understand who you are and the benefit to them.
- Provides a human touch to your business portraying honesty, trust, and reliability.
- Creates commonality with others and makes your organization relatable.
- Brings your people into the forefront of your brand identity and creates advocates.
Investing in a cause also opens up new networking channels and gives your brand something to champion.
Authentic Brands Are Purpose Driven
In today’s saturated and highly competitive world, inbound marketing stands out as the most effective form of generating awareness. Inbound marketing, rather than interrupting your customers’ attention with your services, seeks to provide value to customers to foster rapport and build engagement. Inbound strategies in the long-term cultivate brand loyalty and provide compounding returns.
Adopting and integrating a cause into your inbound strategy enables you to form a connection, express shared values, and create/share content that doesn’t solely revolve around a product or service.
In other words, it gives you something to write about that’s unique, different, and engaging.
As your competitors’ sales-centric content wears thin with customers, you engage people with information that matters to their communities, health, and identity.
This radiates authenticity and provides an endless source of interesting and valuable topics to engage people with.
With a cause you are passionate about, you are afforded an endless source of meaningful, interesting, and genuine content in which to share.
Selling people things gets tired, but making a difference in the world is something people want to see and be a part of.
So next time you’re wondering how to attract customers to your brand, go with authenticity, and find a cause to share. Turn your brand into a vehicle for change, and people will reward you with loyalty and interest.
SequoiaCX is a different kind of digital agency. We help brands grow and connect with their customers digitally—all while we work to preserve the wild spaces of our world. We support local businesses and communities by preserving national forests, parks, ecosystems that support them.
Join us in keeping the world inspiring and wild. Check out our causes.
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At SequoiaCX, we’re passionate about crafting purposeful and memorable brands. We’ve designed this 28+ page resource to walk you through the fundamentals of great brand storytelling. It offers an easy to follow and use framework that covers: customer & buyer personas, offerings & value, one-liners, & content strategy basics.