22 January 2018

2018 is the year of brand authenticity: What that means and how to communicate it

New Year’s resolutions don’t solely apply to those vowing to go to the gym. A new year is also time for brands to think about how they will be perceived in the coming months. Whilst there are a lot of points we could discuss when it comes to getting your brand in order, perhaps the most important to look at is authenticity, and more importantly how to approach it.

Authenticity is essentially how truthful you are with what you share with consumers and the approach you take to earning stakeholder trust. Authenticity can be demonstrated in multiple ways, but today we will focus on showing it through content.

Consumers and businesses need to be aware of authenticity now more than ever. The ‘fake news’ climate of 2017 put a spin on how people look at websites and organisations, adding an extra level of scrutiny for discerning customers.

Social media has also made it easier for people to express discontent with brands, so to adopt a policy of honesty is important to prevent potential PR meltdowns. For instance, look at companies like Uber, who suffered greatly last year due to a lack of transparency and authenticity amidst concern about their practices.

Being true to your word is easier said than done, so on that note here are some tips on keeping your brand authentic.

Speak like a human

Fluff in writing isn’t great at the best of times, more often than not it only serves to stroke egos and pad out content.

The way your brand communicates with potential customers is important when it comes to showing who you are and what you do. To come across as affable and authentic, you should cut out the fluff and just get to the heart of the matter.

When talking about your brand, try not to big yourself up too much. Extreme claims and constantly reiterating how great you are can be a major turn off.

Instead focus on the approach you take and how you can solve a problem for the consumer. Explaining your point of difference in easy to understand terms helps readers reach a decision about you as a business and encourage them to read more from you in the future.

Back up claims

A good rule of thumb to follow is to assume that readers won’t believe any claims that you can’t verify, so be conscious of this when writing.

Instead of writing “we have the best coffee in Melbourne,” you should write “we have won the Best Coffee in Melbourne Award five years in a row,” or something to that effect.

Wear your heart on your sleeve

Practicing what you preach may sound like a no brainer, but if you’re not actively doing it there could be a breakdown in messaging with your brand.

An example of this would be a company that has a philosophy built around sustainability, but uses production methods that are reliant on fossil fuels. This type of disconnect between core messaging and practice is jarring for consumers.

One way to avoid this kind of issue is to communicate your processes clearly through content guidelines website copy, product descriptions, and social media posts.

Don’t hide pricing

When looking for a service or product there’s nothing more frustrating than committing to a purchase only to find hidden costs.

For example, at Bellman we offer fixed pricing for our services with no hidden charges, which we communicate upfront on our website. This is a way you can demonstrate to customers that you won’t be surprising them with hidden costs after a decision is made. It sets up a relationship founded on trust, which will pay off in the long term.

Stay consistent

Keeping channels of communication consistent builds your brand image and reiterates who you are. Deviating from these messages only muddies the water.

For example, changing your core messaging in an attempt to reach new audiences is confusing to those that follow you, and it might make them wonder why it is that you’re shifting from your usual style.

The best way to combat this is to come up with clear style guides for your brand and sticking to them. These can be for all areas, such as logo use, product imagery, content and social media.

If you want to discuss your brand’s messaging and content, contact Bellman today to find out how we can help.

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