‘Business authenticity’ is the new buzzword in communication strategy. It’s commonly accepted that embracing authenticity is the key to grow your presence and your audience reach. Yet, what does it exactly mean to be ‘authentic’?
The short answer: Embracing authenticity means just being yourself! Embrace who you are and your customers will follow. Be unapologetically you. But as many brands have discovered, there’s a fine line between revealing too much and too little.
Those are some of the most popular suggestions you’ll find online if you’re reading around the topic of authenticity. But they don’t exactly say much about why authenticity is a smart business strategy or even how it works. To gain a better understanding of the concept, we turn to marketing guru Neil Patel who explains what authentic marketing means. As Patel puts it, the more virtual our lives get, the more we crave genuine content.
Embracing authenticity and being authentic is about staying true to your values and your business identity. Your actions will reveal your brand identity, rather than sharing business secrets.
Keep reading to learn how embracing authenticity can work for your business
#1 – You take a genuine interest
As a small business or a brand, authenticity in your communications matters more than ever before. The reason? Customers these days are savvy enough to tell the difference! In other words, you can’t fake authenticity without being called out. Your customers expect you to show genuine interest in the relationship with them. They want to do business and build a relationship with a business that cares.
This means that customers are looking for signs of your interest. They will scrutinize your strategies to find out just exactly how authentic you are about them.
However, embracing authenticity as a part of your marketing strategy doesn’t mean that you need to expose confidential data or over-share to prove your worth. Instead, investing in a personalised offering and messaging, for instance, can start to build solid foundations for your customer relationships. It’s an indication that you recognise the important role of your customers in your business.
#2 – You consider what they need to know
Embracing authenticity the right way is about establishing a balance between what customers need to know and what you share.
For example, your customers need to be able to reach out to the business, and they are more likely to put their faith (and money) into a company that provides helpful contact data. Yet, that doesn’t mean that customers should know your home address and your personal phone number.
Keep the boundaries between your business and yourself clear. If you are a small services provider and are working from home for instance, it can be too easy for these lines to become blurred.
Instead, look at ways to offer the services your customers expect while remaining professional. You can use a virtual physical address service to capture business communication, and you’ll also want to add a business phone number where people can reach you, which will be different from your personal mobile number.
#3 – Don’t lie to your audience
Sometimes things go wrong, such as you’ve accidentally packed the wrong item for your customer. An authentic business or business founder acknowledges the mistake honestly.
While it can be tempting to blame problems on someone else which would free you from taking responsibilities, smart businesses know that this is the perfect opportunity to seize the opportunity and make the mistake up to their audience. Customers appreciate this. They much prefer a business that works to fix errors than one that pretends nothing has happened.
In summary, as a business or founder of a brand, embracing authenticity isn’t so much about how much you are willing to reveal about yourself, but about how trustworthy and honest you can become. It’s a path of imparting genuine attention toward your customers and your responsibilities.