Authenticity marketing and how it can work for your brand

I have been thinking lately about how brands are using social media and advertising appeals that revolve around how authentic, true, and personal they are.

As we s-l-o-w-l-y recover from the economic recession, consumers are definitely less trustful of individuals and institutions, such as universities, banks, and political leaders.

With scandals, crises, and ever increasing amounts of counterfeit products on the market, you can’t blame people for being wary.

The Edelman Trust Barometer measures people’s level of trust in business, government, and other institutions.  2012 saw sharp drops in trust.  The credibility of CEOs fell 12 points.

On the other hand, people thought the information they discovered in search engine results and found in traditional media, such as newspapers, was the most trustworthy information of all.

I see growing consumer preferences for authenticity played out in all kinds of ways.  To name a few,

  • The trend of featuring  local, fresh ingredients on restaurant menus.
  • The broadcast predominance of reality television and news programs.
  • The tremendous popularity of social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.

Even Oprah decided to go natural in her hairstyle and show her “real” hair on the cover of her September 2012 issue of her magazine, and the move made news and drew positive Facebook comments from her fans.

Clearly, people are drawn to brands they perceive as real and authentic.  So, how you can you deliver the real while communicating the key messages associated with your brand?

Here are my suggestions:

  • Create content that will be found in search engines.  So, you may want to scale back your efforts on Twitter and Facebook updates, and devote more resources to producing content that will be discovered in organic search engine results: blog posts, website pages, YouTube videos, and digital images.
  • Use real stories and examples in your advertising.
  • Emphasize testimonials on your website and marketing materials.  Use photos to put faces to your testimonials.
  • Tell your story online with YouTube and blog posts, which come across as most authentic.  Feature (brief) videos with executives and staff members.  Demonstrate your products and services on YouTube.  Showcase your expertise (but in a visual way).
  • Take photos and share them frequently: on your website, on your blog, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.

All of these tactics depend on one premise, however: that your business or organization is scrupulous in its operation and practices, as these methods will heighten your visibility.

Watch this Forbes  video that demonstrates how an executive used the attribute of authenticity to build trust in his brand’s products.

How have you enhanced the authenticity of brand in your public relations and marketing efforts?


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on August 13, 2012, in Marketing Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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