Modern consumers have evolved to become increasingly sceptical when it comes to traditional promotional tactics employed by brands. They are spoiled for choice and brands now need to go above and beyond to reach them.
The reality is that traditional advertising is no longer enough. Today’s consumers are becoming immune to clever slogans and hard sales approaches and are instead choosing to support brands that offer a more authentic approach.
Brand authenticity is how businesses are able to stand out and earn consumer trust. It’s about establishing a connection with audiences to drive brand advocacy and loyalty.
Authentic content marketing is the process of sharing honest and relatable information to customers that provides them with real value. It is the basis for brand authenticity, where a brand’s messaging is authentic, transparent, and genuine – providing a true representation of its products or services.
The goal of authentic content marketing is to reveal what a brand is really about, without any self-promotional marketing gimmicks. This is designed to reach customers on a personal level to establish a deeper connection based on trust.
In today’s pervasive marketing world, establishing trust is crucial to the success of any business.
Modern consumers – especially younger generations – have become sceptical about product-pushing marketing Instead, they want to support brands that share their values and that don’t try to manipulate them. Brand authenticity establishes consumer trust because it hinges on honesty.
Marketing that aims to trick or deceive customers is perceived as inauthentic and thus untrustworthy. The majority of traditional marketing efforts create a one-way conversation designed to sell a product or service with no emphasis on customer’s values.
Instead, authentic content marketing campaigns resonate with consumers by directly relating to the issues they care about. In today’s era of socially-conscious consumers, what brands stand for is equally as important as the products and services they sell. Studies show that 77% of people choose brands which share their values and 70% will lose trust in a brand forever if they perceive they place profit over people.
When brands are considered authentic and have built consumer trust, people are more likely to advocate the brand to other people. 90% of people are more inclined to trust recommendations from people close to them over other types of advertising. The International Journal of Market Research also states that the element of trust gained from familiar peers significantly influences the decision of people to purchase a product or choose a brand.
While the primary objective of all marketing is to sell or promote, authentic marketing offers a gentler approach that, while still aiming to sell/promote, is genuine, transparent, and devoid of manipulation.
The goal of authentic content marketing is to establish consumer trust. The best way to do this is to deeply understand your audience to identify what they care about and connect to these sentiments. This means placing people over profit, or at least positioning it that way.
Consumers want to know that brands are empathetic to their needs and are able to add value to their lives. This means going off-script in situations that require empathy and understanding of their specific needs. A cookie-cutter approach to customer care is not going to resonate with people – they want a personalised experience that adds value. People want to feel that brands are there to help rather than manipulate them.
When brands take a stand on issues their customers care about, it personifies the brand and establishes deep trust and connection. Modern consumers support brands with shared values. Roughly 30% of Gen Z consumers ditch brands that do not support the same social causes. And, 76% of Gen Z and millennials support brands that celebrate diversity.
Storytelling is a great opportunity for brands to show off their personality and differentiate themselves in the market. When a brand is personified, it makes it easier for people to connect with it on a personal level. Telling your brand story in a genuine and honest way shows your values and creates an emotional connection with consumers which builds trust. Transparency is key here, so when brands use storytelling to honestly show their struggles and challenges, it touches on consumers’ emotions as they see the brand as a person and instinctively want to support it to succeed.
The nature of sponsored content aims to make a sale. Unless it is relevant, adds value, or aligns with your brand values, it will be considered inauthentic and manipulative. There is no point in establishing your brand messaging as authentic only to place irrelevant, hard-sales sponsored content everywhere. Be discerning with what sponsored content your audience receives.
User-generated content such as product review videos, blogs, and podcasts do an impressive job at brand/product awareness and promotion. Customers create their own content to promote and market a business’s product without receiving any payment for doing so. For potential buyers, it elevates the sense of trust and creates a more memorable and valuable experience that influences the purchasing decision.
The famous sports apparel brand made headlines when it openly supported NFL star Colin Kaepernick after he received backlash for his decision to take a knee during the national anthem at an NFL game. The player was protesting against the injustices faced by African Americans in modern American society.
Nike rose to the occasion and took a stand with the player regarding this important social issue. The brand used the Kaepernick controversy to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its famous “Just do it” slogan with a campaign that read “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”.
Nike took a stand on a very relevant and topical social issue that not only impacted the United States, but the world. It showed the brand’s purpose and values by taking a ‘pro’ stance on a contentious issue that involved race, business, culture, sport, and national identity – topics many brands wouldn’t dare to do before.
Authentic content marketing is a powerful tool to build brand awareness and valuable consumer relationships. It is a way to show off your brand personality and humanity which helps to develop deeper and more personal connections with customers.
Establishing consumer trust in today’s saturated market is invaluable. While there are many ways to do this, consumers are discerning and can sniff disingenuous gimmicks a mile away. For brands to experience customer loyalty and advocacy, the only way is to be open, transparent, and genuine in how they communicate.
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