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Authenticity in Marketing Connects Brands With Values

by | February 16, 2023

Authenticity is your brand’s ‘secret sauce.’ It signals that you understand your customers. Learn how to use authenticity in marketing.
Authenticity in marketing illustration

Want your brand to stand out? Authenticity in marketing should be your first goal. Consumers get an almost constant stream of digital marketing content. 

Brands looking to stick out from the crowd need to build those close bonds with consumers. Brand authenticity is the best way to build a bond that lasts.

Authenticity is the connection consumers feel with your brand’s advertising and products. Authenticity is a brand voice that sounds like a customer’s own voice. It’s a brand representative they recognize or a shared value between themselves and your brand.

A good example of authenticity in marketing are the recent practices of beauty and skincare brands. In this space, consumers who value sustainability are able to shop for green skincare products. Many beauty brands now create inclusive product lines for many genders and ethnicities. Through these efforts, brands have built a loyal customer base by connecting with consumers over their shared values of environmentalism, inclusivity, and diversity.

You build brand authenticity by focusing on a consistent set of values. You back up those values in your products and sales practices. It’s not enough to tell consumers your skincare line values diversity. Your product line needs to be compatible with the full range of skin types. Consumers will be intrigued by your inclusive advertising messages, and those values are confirmed when they purchase the product. 

Benefits of Authenticity in Marketing

A Gen Z consumer

Consumers of all ages appreciate authenticity. Yet younger generations in particular value personal connections. 

Gen Z, folks born between 1997 and 2012, depend on brand transparency. These digital natives expect to see a brand’s values expressed through their digital marketing and product creation. Brands who are engaged in sustainable practices and diversity sell more products and have higher online engagement.

Still not sure authenticity in marketing is worth it? By 2025, Gen Zers will have achieved an additional $55 million in spending power. Taking the time to reach them through brand authenticity will pay off in the coming years.

Here are some other ways it pays to be authentic:

  • Builds greater brand awareness
  • Keeps customers around longer
  • Increases trust and loyalty between brands and their customers
  • Grows web and social media engagement

But the biggest benefit of all? Increased sales! Consumer data shows time after time that authentic brands sell more products and services to repeat customers. 

Simplify Your Marketing Message

A green sprout grows inside a lightbulb to illustrate sustainability marketing.

It doesn’t have to be complicated to maintain authenticity in marketing. Rather than choosing dozens of causes to support, choose one or two that best match your brand’s values. 

Imagine if you ran a custom t-shirt shop on a college campus. Perhaps you’ve always used shirts made with sustainably grown cotton. How can you share this philosophy with consumers? 

  • Share an Instagram post on how sustainably grown cotton helps the environment.
  • Include all sustainable practices on the front page of the shop’s website, including how long you’ve purchased sustainable products.
  • Ask customers if they appreciate eco-friendly practices. Seek feedback about what other sustainability practices they’d like to see.
  • Attend an environmental event or offer bulk discounts to environmental student groups.

Get Some User-Generated Content 

Photo illustration of a five-star review

A great way to build authenticity in marketing is through user-generated content. This is any digital content created by online users instead of brands. Consumers are nearly 2.5 times more likely to engage with user-generated content than content created by brands themselves. This is because consumers often trust or “believe” user-generated content more implicitly than a brand. 

Of course you think your t-shirts are the best on campus. As the business owner, that’s not saying much. When a customer says your shirts are amazing, other customers will connect more strongly to your brand.

User-generated content includes reviews, social media content, or brand rep collaborations. Imagine an influencer wearing your company’s t-shirt while taking an eco-tour hike in Costa Rica.

How to Build Brand Authenticity Today

A young woman riding her bike through an urban neighborhood.

Ready to increase your authenticity in marketing? The good news is that it’s easy to do. Using the t-shirt shop from above, here are some marketing strategies to raise your authenticity meter:

  • Prioritize transparency. Be open and honest about your brand values, mission, and practices. Share it on social media, in marketing content, and in t-shirt design.
  • Showcase real people. User-generated content and customer testimonials can help humanize your brand and build trust with your target audience. Student groups who are loyal customers may make good brand reps.
  • Engage with your audience. Use social media and other channels to connect with your customers and respond to their concerns and questions. Respond to customer reviews (positive or negative). Consider a pop-up shop at a campus event or pass out fliers.  
  • Be consistent. Ensure that your marketing messages align with your brand values and mission. Younger consumers in particular are looking to see your brand lives its values. If your shirts are made with sustainably grown cotton, do you also recycle on site at the shop?
  • Avoid manipulative tactics. Authenticity in marketing means avoiding misleading or manipulative advertising techniques. If a cause or initiative isn’t one you support, don’t include it. Customers will notice and appreciate what feels real. 
  • Celebrate diversity and inclusion. Show that your brand is inclusive and supportive of all customers. Hire diverse staff and support inclusive initiatives. Offer a military or senior discount. Attend diverse student events, rather than just sports games. 
  • Focus on quality over quantity. Don’t bombard your audience with constant marketing messages. Focus on creating high-quality, memorable content that resonates. 

Keep It Real

Ready to build a marketing strategy that prioritizes authenticity? College Marketing Group has the pulse on passionate marketing messages. Using our years of experience, we help brands find their core values and communicate those to consumers. Through social media platforms and in-person experiences, CMG strategies build real bonds with your target audience.

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