The real deal: authenticity

Sep 24, 2020 | Brand Building

The importance of genuine engagement in brand building

Do you know that unsettling tingle you get when someone doesn’t feel fully authentic? Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint, but our subconscious usually knows right away when something is curated to make more of an impression than a connection.

When a brand tries too hard to sell itself, you can smell it. Just like that date who wears way too much cologne or perfume. It can go from turn-on to turn-off in a hot minute. Whether you’re searching for a product or a partner, we are all seeking the real deal, and it doesn’t take long to separate what’s real from “what’s the deal?”

Focus on more than just the product

Unfortunately, brand authenticity is something too many companies overlook when they dive into their marketing. So much focus is put on how to sell a product to as many people as possible instead of cultivating the sort of authenticity that genuinely attracts those who want to buy it.

Starting a business is like entering the field of your dreams. Therefore, the old saying of, “If you build it, they will come” rings true if your brand is a true and unapologetic reflection of you.

When you use your authentic voice in your communications, it will be heard by your ideal consumers. Why change the pitch to try and please everyone?

The Authentic Choice

Think about some of your favourite products or services. Why do you buy them? It’s not because someone forced you to, it was a choice.

We all start our search by seeking something that will either bring greater joy into our lives, or much-needed relief by solving a pain point.

But in our virtual world where everything is readily available at our fingertips, we can easily become paralyzed by our options with dozens or even thousands of products and services that all promise the same thing.

When you make a purchasing decision, you are making a conscious choice that is informed by a feeling of shared values and connection to the brand. That intangible essence of authenticity is the secret sauce that will do more for your brand than any trending colour on its label.

Branding misfires happen when businesses focus more on the bottom line and how much they can sell, as opposed to attracting their ideal target audience. Some might assume that a brand is just a logo — a way to create visual consistency between product and platform. But how we resonate with a brand is so much more than some fancy buzz words that are selected just for SEO. A brand should embody the personality of its people.

As with every business, at one time somebody had an idea, an inspiration, or an opportunity to cultivate something that mattered to them. They put in the effort of planting the seed. They showered it with the sweat of their ambition and the sunshine of their love. And over time, their brand found its people and it grew.

Every brand has an origin story, and often that story is tied to someone’s passion — the reason why they get out of bed in the morning and are driven to share their product or service with the world.

Best Practice: A Très Belle Example of Authentic Branding

Belle General Store in Victoria is a charming example of a local brand that presents an authentic reflection of the people behind the label.

In a progressive city like Victoria, there’s probably more shops than you can shake a stick at that fit the vegan, ethical, or sustainable niche; however, what sets Belle General apart is how they position themselves as a purveyor of great snacks and bad puns with bougie 7-Eleven vibes (bet you’re already smiling.)

The owner of Belle General inside her store. Photo: Instagram/@bellegeneral.
The owner of Belle General inside her store. Photo: Instagram/@bellegeneral.

Visit their Facebook and Instagram pages, and you can hear the owner’s voice come through in every line. Her conversational tone and delightful humour doesn’t just make you want to support this store because you share their values, but it inspires a connection to the people behind the posts.

You want to support the owner because you feel like you already know and like her – and by extension, you like and trust her brand.

Just like at Belle General, your authentic self should always shine through your brand’s communication. That is what is going to attract the right people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Why try to be something else when your ideal audience will love you so much more when you be yourself?