Is anyone else tired of fake? There’s nothing like an authentic pleather sofa or some fresh-baked bread direct from an oven in another city. The one trend in marketing and advertising that I am elated to see is the consumer’s desire for authenticity.
I’d write a book about it, but someone already has. James Gilmore’s Authenticity, is a sweet embrace of discovering why consumers are now purchasing on the basis of who they are and the authenticity of experience. In summary, people are tired of crap. In another great book, Rework, the 37Signals founders describe this as “at home good.” People are tired of buying the pretty picture only to unwrap their widget at home and discover it’s not as advertised.
Gilmore states that “people want real offerings from genuinely transparent sources.” So, how can you be authentic in your brand strategy and marketing?
- Listen to your customers. Engage with them via all the social media tools, but the key is to actually “engage.”
- Don’t sell on Twitter. Social Media is about a conversation, not a vaccuum cleaner demonstration. Don’t just put up a Facebook page if there’s not going to be anyone on the other side of those customer posts and inquiries.
- Be you. Spin is dead. Tell your story in your voice. Don’t be a pretender. If you’re a small company, be a small company and indicate why you believe it’s better to do business with a small business. If you’re a giant, then throw your weight around about why you’re so darn successful.
- Smack of assurance and success. (IBM motto) Branding is about the customer experience. Look at every customer touch point and make sure it smacks of assurance and success.
- Sell something real. Don’t produce, offer or manufacture something useless. Help the rest of us by keeping the clutter to your Mom’s basement.