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Why and How to Build an Authentic Brand

Customers worldwide are overloaded with information and advertising making it hard for brands to stand out. Providing a quality product or service is no longer enough. Companies need to listen to what customers want and people strive for authenticity, honesty, and genuine and transparent experiences. According to recent Stackla data (via SocialMediaToday), 90% of shoppers cited authenticity as an important factor in deciding which brands they like and support. Authentic brands have a unique point of view that resonates with their customers, who see themselves in the brand’s values. The brand speaks directly to its audience and makes them feel understood.

Is it really that important for brands to be authentic? The answer is a resounding yes. Here are three reasons why:

  1. The new generation: Gen Z consumers are relatively sensitive to social issues reflected in their brand choice process. Research from DoSomethingStrategic (via MarketingDive) shows that two-thirds of this generation have an increase in positive feelings about a brand because of an association with a social cause, and 58% say that such a relationship can encourage purchase.
  2. Emotional connection: The emotional connection between consumers and brands is worth more than just being very satisfied with them. According to research covered in a 2015 Harvard Business Review article, “fully connected” customers are worth 52% more than “highly satisfied” customers. These clients are more likely to return due to their emotional attachment to the brand.
  3. Too much noise: Consumers are overwhelmed by website ads and influencers on social media; as a result, they turn away from advertising and turn to authenticity and credibility. In Bazaarvoice’s 2022 Shopper Experience Index, 53% of consumers said that user-generated content (UGC), like reviews and photos, gives them more confidence in their purchasing decisions.

But How to be Authentic? Authenticity is something brands need to work on actively. Here are five actionable strategies to strengthen your brand’s authenticity:

  1. Define your purpose: What is the purpose of your business? What do you want to accomplish with it? Why should people choose you over another company?
  2. Identify and understand your audience: Who are they exactly? What do they want from their products or services? What pain points do they experience in their daily lives? What kind of messaging will resonate with them the most?
  3. Connect your brand to your audience by building a social media presence and using social proof: positive comments, reviews, and posts about your brand will help build trust between you and your customers.
  4. Share your story: the About Us page should tell the story of who you are as a company, including what makes it unique or different from other brands in its space. That can include the brand’s history, mission statement, values, employees’ bios, etc. These pages help humanize the brand by making it more relatable and personable to consumers.
  5. Long-term game: building authenticity doesn’t happen overnight. Brands need to be consistent about their messages in the long run.

Authenticity is all about being real and genuine, not just trying to be something you’re not. Being transparent about who you are, what you do, and why you do it, is the key. The good news is that creating an authentic brand doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive—it just requires that you’re willing to put in the time and effort required to get started.

This blog post was originally published by Melchers’ Retail Partner 5 Star Plus Retail Design, an interior design company specializing in the branded design of retail stores and restaurants. The original post can be found here.

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