Use these strategies to build brand authenticity

With customers’ trust in business steadily on the decline, today’s marketer is faced with the challenge of demonstrating brand authenticity — getting across the message that their company is reliable and ethical, and that it consistently stands behind its brand promises.

However, this challenge can get a bit complicated in marketing plans. How do you clearly demonstrate brand authenticity in a way that’s authentic?

The answer lies in creating a content strategy in a way that focuses on authenticity as part of your brand messaging. It requires getting insights from your customers, putting a face to your brand, championing what your customers say about you and being a dedicated partner as they continue their journey with you.

Here are several strategies to ensure you’re building on brand authenticity as part of your marketing initiatives.

“Listen” to your customers. Customers are giving you insights about their needs, whether you’re asking them directly or not. Put the martech tools in your stack to work by exploring the topics most relevant to your customers. For example, tools that provide heat mapping, analytics and content intelligence can help you identify relevant industry topics that have not received much coverage among the competitors.

Leverage the insights of the subject matter experts on your team to develop in-depth content that differentiates your brand in your industry.

Humanize your brand with humans. As marketers, we often talk about humanizing brands as a way to connect with customers. For instance, when content is written in a conversational tone, the way people actually talk, it creates an additional layer of authenticity to the brand’s message. It becomes more relatable.

You can take that same strategy a step further by creatively weaving the faces of your brand into content. Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson is featured in a massive amount of content for the mega brand, including blogs, social media posts and videos. According to Branson, positioning himself as a visible part of the business has been one of the most effective aspects of the brand’s marketing strategy.

In the same way, messaging from your CEO or founder, whether in welcome greetings to new customers or as part of updates about the company’s solutions and vision, adds to the human aspects of your brand.

Content that focuses on other employees throughout the company also is impactful in generating brand authenticity. In addition to helping prospective customers feel more connected to your brand, it deliver insights about company culture.

Feature customer testimonials. Customer testimonials are among the most impactful content types to influence prospects as part of the customer journey, according to Vennli’s recent survey on the impact of content along the buyer journey.

And by integrating customer testimonials in a case study format — telling a story about their experiences with your company, you can add credibility to the products and services offered by your brand. As video consumption continues to grow, bringing a customer testimonial to life in a video case study can be a powerful way to deliver this content.

As marketers revealed in the survey, it is much more convincing to have third-party validation for the claims you make about your company. It significantly contributes to efforts to build brand trust.

Be transparent about purchasing process. Whether they’re 20% 0r 60% along the way into the B2B buyer journey, customers want an answer to the question “How much will it cost?” And those researching B2C sites want to quickly calculate costs, including shipping, within minutes.

Companies are approaching the purchasing question in different ways while ensuring authenticity.

The clothing retailer Everlane opts for full transparency by giving its customers a breakdown of what they’re paying for each item. A $68 pair of Everlane jeans, for example, includes $14.76 for materials, $9.60 for labor and $1.75 for transport. The company also discloses how much of a profit they’re making, noting that the “True Cost” for the Everlane jeans is $34.

But that’s a $68 pair of jeans.

B2B companies with higher-end solutions often need to first help prospects understand its value in solving their complex challenges. As a result, the benefits of the solution can provide context for the price.

Ensure that your marketing and sales teams are delivering a transparent process at all stages of the demo and sales process — honestly answering customers’ questions and addressing their concerns in a straightforward way.

Readily address shortcomings. A robust content strategy designed for the end of the buyer journey, after the Purchase, also is critical for building brand authenticity among your customers. At this point, in their relationship with your brand, customers should be viewed as partners.

In addition to building out customer support materials, including tutorials, develop a content strategy that includes keeping customers notified about product updates, system glitches or any other relevant material that impacts their relationship with your brand — both good and bad. If necessary, include apologies for any inconveniences and a plan for how you’re working to resolve them.

Building brand authenticity requires a deep understanding of your customers. And it demands that you create a content strategy that clearly communicates the value that your company provides them in ways that are relevant.

Learn how content intelligence helps you deliver on both to enhance your company’s brand authenticity. Contact us for a demo.

How to use content intelligence to improve brand consistency

Just how valuable is brand consistency? That is, the practice of consistently conveying your company’s value, promises and offerings in all of your deliverables — and in ways that resonate with your customers?

Brand consistency is the key to boosting brand trust, brand awareness and brand loyalty. And, according to 200 organizations in a recent survey by LucidPress and DemandMetric, it also can lead to an increase in profits — by as much as 23 percent.

But a significant number of the organizations surveyed also said that brand consistency can be elusive, with 60 percent reporting that their teams are regularly creating materials that don’t conform to their company’s brand guidelines.

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Create a customer-focused content strategy that promotes brand loyalty

Take a second to consider the many ways people get their caffeine fix. Some may brew the old-fashioned way — using a coffee pot or a French press to get the job done. Others may use a Keurig.

And no smart coffee shop barista will assume that every person in line wants a black cup of java. Not when there are thousands of possibilities.

And that’s just coffee.

Developing a content strategy also requires that type of consideration for the different experiences customers want from your brand. Customers are increasingly demanding more — highly relevant experiences delivered in a way that shows you understand them.

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Build brand loyalty with a data-driven content strategy

Are you really giving customers what they want?

Now, more than ever, even your most loyal customers say they are willing to switch to another brand — especially since technology is making it even easier for them to do so.

Here are a few reasons why customers may leave your brand for another:

  • 66% of customers say they’re likely to switch brands if they feel treated like a number.
  • 81% of customers want brands to understand them better — knowing when and when not to approach them.
  • Customers are 52% more likely to switch brands if communications lack personalization.
  • 33% will leave your brand after just one instance of bad customer service.
  • Customers want you to build experiences that allow them to define their own journey.

While those numbers highlight just how challenging it is to build customer loyalty, that doesn’t mean you can’t retain customers for the long term. It just may require more (and different) work than it did just five to 10 years ago.

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5 great storytelling tips to increase brand awareness

Not that long ago, or at least it seems, the business of building brand awareness was fairly straightforward. The success of your campaign typically had a lot to do with the size of your budget and the creativity of your marketing team.

Content marketing has disrupted everything. Small companies, and even individual bloggers, are generating brand awareness among their target audiences at a degree that can surpass those built through multimillion-dollar marketing initiatives.

That type of success requires a deep understanding of your customers, and what they want at every stage of their experience with you — whether it’s getting more information, buying a product or service to solve a problem, or simply being entertained.

While this is the Age of the Customer, it’s not all about the customers. Success also lies in telling your side of the story; humanizing your company in a way that customers find relatable and authentic.

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