Authentic marketing is arguably the only kind of marketing that can be effective at attracting and retaining customers in the long run.
In part one, we looked at how important stories are for us as we relate to one another, but also as we go to make purchasing decisions.
The importance of storytelling is clear, but what are the core aspects of our brand that we can take advantage of in order to share our brand’s story over time?
Here are five ways to re-consider your brand’s assets to render authenticity in the marketplace.
1. Tell a rich version of your brand history—including the failures encountered along the way.
Of course any brand story is not complete without mentioning a brand’s heritage. Done right, sharing a brand’s heritage or deep-rooted traditions can quickly affirm your commitment to what matters most to your brand. A story that includes how you started, and how a brand has evolved since the start, also articulates your purpose and original vision—all of which your loyal consumers will be attracted to.
For many brands, sharing the past is a genuine way to let consumers know the challenges or struggles a company may have had. The story of how a brand has overcome hard times differentiates a brand, makes for a more vibrant connection with consumers, and makes any story much more memorable.
Want an example? Take Apple: after losing its way in the early 90s, Apple brought back Steve Jobs as CEO. Jobs made changes affecting R&D, the pricing model used, licensing agreements, distribution for Apple products, as well as how the company was advertising at the time…to name a few.
Years later, we can see how Apple is now able to take advantage of the idea of Jobs coming back to Apple as CEO. We see the story as a way that a company leader and visionary was able to re-align a company on the path towards its intended vision. For me, it’s a story that makes Apple even more likable.
2. Articulate your purpose—starting from within.
While a brand doesn’t always have to assert it’s authenticity, it does need to consistently communicate its purpose, and just as important, the underlying values at its foundation. Take a look at the top brands in any sector, and typically they make a point to continually share their purpose (or mission statement). At Edoc, for example, we even have our purpose on our website for all to see.
3. Give the founders, or current leadership, a voice.
One of the best ways to share your values is any behaviors or outward communications from the leadership within a company. A CEO that blogs or uses Twitter, for example, is able to articulate what a brand stands for, while doing so in a way that comes across as very accessible to consumers.
On the contrary, if a company leader (or even a spokesperson!) says or behaves in a way that’s not in alignment with how a company positions itself, it is one of the quickest ways to destroy brand equity and trust in your brand.
4. Continually embrace and celebrate culture.
Can you imagine how incongruent it would be if Harley Davidson’s product managers had never rode a motorcycle? It would be disheartening, to say the least.
One of the most fundamental ways to share your authenticity is to start by examining your own company, and to celebrate and share your genuine culture with the outside world. Unlike when you have the star-power of a founder or CEO, telling “every day” employees’ stories shows your brand’s on-the-ground adoption of its values. Quite simply, it’s a more humble approach to showing your brand’s core values.
Unveiling what’s naturally going on within your company builds loyalty with your consumers. They feel privy to inside information you’ve granted them access to, and the outcome is that you are genuinely building a relationship with them.
5. Look for ways to show proof.
One place to start is to celebrate the company culture, but that’s not to say that customer “wins” should be forgotten. They are just as important to share whenever possible.
The staff or close partners of a company may know the company’s success or the positive social impact a brand has made, but that doesn’t mean the marketplace will. The reality is, they need evidence to make informed decisions.
Sharing customer stories is one way to “show proof” when it comes the impact a brand is making.
The same can be said for the any social impact a brand makes. If the brand is making a difference, it should be shared to help clearly define the brand versus the competition.
Start by focusing on consistency in message.
When it comes to revealing more about a brand’s history, starting to communicate your purpose to customers, or looking for ways to show evidence of your brand’s values or successes, be sure to do it with clarity and consistency.
After all, it is more than just a single Tweet by a CEO that builds your brand in the eyes of the consumer—it’s the story your staff is telling, day after day, when they interact with partners and customers. It’s the way your customer service approaches each new ticket. It’s the way you look to re-invest in your own culture over time. It’s even the way you treat people who are looking to join your team.
To build loyalty and brand durability, it must be genuine.
Taking advantage of these five ways to share your brand’s architecture—executed in a genuine way—will attract the right kind of new customers. It can provide trade leverage, and it can give you more time to respond to any threats in the marketplace.
READ MORE: If you liked this post, you might like “3 Tips for Forming Habits for Greater Success“
Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service, Inc., a total virtual company.