It seems every time you walk into a store today you are confronted with new products, new brands and new product extension lines. So how do consumers sift through all of the noise to select a product they believe in and connect with? It may be less complicated than you think. While many marketers over the last several decades have focused on brand positioning to “capture” the attention of their consumers, today’s consumers would rather be captivated by an honest and authentic brand.
According to a recent article by Fast Company, “We need to stop buying and selling ideas about brands that don’t have any substance behind them and start enabling people to discover why they should incorporate a company’s brand into their own.”
Today’s consumers easily recognize the difference between a brand trying to “sound” authentic, and a brand that is genuinely authentic and interested in connecting with its consumers on a deeper level.
“If a brand says, “we want to be seen as X,” the correct response from a marketer is ‘Are you actually X?’ or “Then go be X,” because no amount of positioning can swing the needle if you aren’t actually delivering the experience.”
The infamous BP oil spill in 2010 is a prime example. Many consumers felt that BP’s efforts to reconcile the disaster were insincere; some even went so far as to label it BP propaganda. So what caused this disconnect between BP’s messaging, and the poor response it received from its consumers? A lack of authenticity may have been a major factor.
Too often brands try to overcompensate by trying to appear in a certain manner, forcing their authenticity and transparency in front of their consumers with bold ad campaigns and messaging. When in reality, consumers would prefer to see what companies do about a problem, rather than be told what they are going to do about it. While positioning will always be a crucial element of the marketing process, it can easily become a tool for manipulating consumer’s emotions rather than inspiring them with an incredible product and an authentic message.
Whether it’s launching a new product or dealing with a PR disaster, companies that make an honest, authentic effort to understand their consumers on a deeper level will be equipped with the insights they need to connect with and retain their consumers trust and support in the future.
Is it time to reevaluate the authenticity of your brand?