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.