What does it take to create an authentic brand identity

What does it take to create an authentic brand identity

Push the cart through the supermarket

Photo: Eduardo Soares | unplash

Brands invest millions of dollars in creating an external identity that reflects their mission, values, and products. A good brand identity is instantly recognizable, reliable, and clear on what your company stands for. This does not make them strong or permanent.

Having a strong and enduring brand comes from the brand’s authenticity. Consumers today view their cash spending as a psychological investment, and want to believe what they are consuming. In fact, recent reports show that 90% of consumers say that credibility is important when deciding which brands they like and support.

What does it take to create an authentic brand identity

Creating a real and impactful brand goes beyond a visually appealing social media account or a funny Super Bowl ad. It’s about connecting with consumers on a deeper level and taking action to live up to your brand values ​​or support important issues. Great brands now honor their customers.

We’ve seen brands do this well. Patagonia recently shared why the word “sustainable” is not used in its marketing. The decision stems from the realization that despite its best efforts, the company is still part of the climate change problem. Ben and Jerry is another example. Historically known for taking an unapologetic stance on social issues, its founders were arrested for their activism in 2016. By putting themselves to the test, the leadership at Ben and Jerry’s has shown that its support for social causes is unwavering. These choices were not made for advertising – they are the result of years of groundbreaking work aimed at building a relationship of trust and transparency with consumers and honoring the issues that matter most to those who buy their products. At the end of the day, consumers want to trust and be proud of the brands they support.

Building an authentic brand identity doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time, consistency and empathy. Here are some key points and simple strategies to get your brand authenticity right.

Related article: Unforgettable customer experiences share a common feature: authenticity

Start with your inner culture, then work out

Brand authenticity begins with building a positive internal culture rooted in transparency. Ensure that all employees—whether they are in the corporate office, store location, or distribution center—feel supported, shared, and heard.

Increased transparency can take many forms, one of which is having frequent and open conversations with employees. By creating this space, you are not only giving people a space to express their concerns and values ​​but you are also building a community among your employees. Another way to positively influence internal culture is to incorporate employee feedback into your overall mission, asking your employees questions such as: What social issues are most important to you? Are there any organizations you would like us to support? Incorporate this feedback into your overall mission and daily activities, and your employees will feel more empowered and supported by your brand. They are your best advocates, and shape your brand every day through their actions.

To move forward with this step, identify and acknowledge the weaknesses in your company’s culture. Employees who feel overwhelmed and overwhelmed will not do their best. Similarly, companies that lack policies to enhance communication between remote employees may find their employees unmotivated and unmotivated. It is important to remember that employees are the first asset to the brand, people first and workers second. Address pain points and make an active effort to increase everyone’s sense of belonging within the organization. By empowering employees, they will organically spread your message to potential clients, increasing business value for the company as a whole.

Related article: The intersection of employee experience with customer experience

Speak less, act more

According to consumers, brand authenticity is not so much about overt messaging as it is about communicating through mission and work. Consumers today are consciously and increasingly spending in search of brands that actively support causes that align with their personal values.

Evaluate your company’s spending to ensure that the organizations and causes you support align with your brand values. Don’t assume that people won’t notice where your company money is being spent. We’ve seen the past two years that people are holding companies accountable more than ever. Don’t just attach your name to every movement or cause that’s trending, and stay away from conversations where your brand is irrelevant. Instead, facilitate open conversations with consumers to remove guesswork from your efforts, and create opportunities to leverage your brand’s resources within your community.

There are ways to do it well—for example, during a disaster in 2017, Budweiser began canning water instead of beer to help hurricane victims, using its resources in a moment of need. This practice has continued since then, developing a partnership with the Red Cross to provide support when needed.

Integrity matters in good times and bad

Make sure your brand voice is clear, authentic and consistent 100% of the time. Customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to non-genuine brands, so avoid using emotional manipulation techniques in your marketing.

Likewise, own your mistakes. It’s almost certain that your brand won’t do it right every time – nobody does. Consumers will notice these moments, but will likely pay more attention to how you respond, and whether you learn. We perceive authenticity in humans through traits such as honesty and humility. By owning and learning from any mistakes, people will learn about the authenticity of your brand as well. Of course, do your best to keep these moments far and few in between. And make sure to get things right with individual clients when needed. After all, how to correct a problem or error is just as important (if not more important) than the problem itself.

These three strategies are a stepping stone to creating an authentic brand that consumers know and love. Having a strong, authentic identity builds trust and loyalty, which ultimately leads to repeat purchases and leads to lifelong customer relationships. Authenticity isn’t created overnight – it takes years of consistency to establish yourself as a reliable and reputable home favorite. But once you put in the time and effort, you will create a strong customer base of fierce brand advocates who align with your mission and spread the goodwill along with your brand.

Andrew Konya is CEO and co-founder of Remesh, an agile market research platform that sparks meaningful conversations between decision makers and the populations they serve, transforming the way organizations operate and driving more informed and empathetic choices. He began his career as a theoretical physicist at Kent State University, where he applied machine learning and supercomputing to understanding emerging phenomena in complex systems.

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