People typically comprehend a brand as a label for a particular product of an individual company. It is also a social concept that carries with it emotional and philosophical components. From the concept, there is a production of ideas and images that consumers attach to a product or service. The process of creating this image and even the name, symbol, or representation of a brand is what we call branding. Entrepreneurs and marketers are responsible for creating a brand and for influencing how people should see their business. But a brand’s impression is highly dependent on how consumers receive what marketers present to them.
Any marketer who wants to establish a strong brand positioning knows that quality products sold at competitive prices are no longer enough. Today’s consumers, the majority of which are millennials, are more aware and empowered compared to the market of the past. People demand more from businesses and their products and services. And with the millennials becoming the largest generation that are in their prime spending years, the economy inevitably experiences changes in its structure. This is the reality that brand owners and marketers face.
Branding with Authenticity
One reliable way to defend a solid brand position is to guarantee authentic branding. Brands are always pursuing a connection with their consumers, particularly with millennials who have now started to change the game of marketing. In the challenge for creating a positive transactional relationship with this particular generation of customers, authenticity can provide the solution.
The advertising industry, be it print or digital, has also changed its approach to promoting businesses, products, and services. A lot of consumers are no longer fond of being directly advertised to since they’d rather arrive at an informed decision concerning their purchases instead of simply biting into what the digital or print ads are telling them to do.
What today’s marketers should be doing is to engage customers with what is real and genuine about their brand. But then giving consumers authenticity seems to be at odds with what people understand primarily of marketing for the past number of years.
Building a brand that is credible
Some people might doubt if brands can, in fact, deliver authenticity when making connections with their customers and would-be clients. But then this is already happening to many local and even global brands. The only hurdle we see in this shift to authentic branding is inconsistency. So how should marketers interest their millennial consumers in such a way that their brands won’t appear as hard sell, forceful, and pretentious?
Brands, particularly authentic ones, are built on a daily basis. Standards, as well as program materials, are the building blocks or foundation by which marketers accomplish branding with authenticity. It is important that business owners think about the programs they will be using for their brands and at the same time be deliberate about and consistent with the implementation.
Sometimes, in the grand scheme of branding, it’s the small things that create the authenticity of a brand. For example, a business will tell you they deliver services just when and how you need them. But then if they cannot hold that promise of on-time and precise execution, they will not be reliable and credible in the eyes of their clients. If another brand claims to follow ethical processes in manufacturing their products, they’d have to let consumers know they are following the set codes and standards. Authenticity is about a consistent implementation and restrengthening of what owners and marketers claim their businesses or products to be.
Sincerity and integrity sustain a brand
As emphasized earlier authenticity speaks, louder than any other branding efforts often done through advertisements and promotions. An honest and genuine story will resound well with consumers and millennials in particular. People would be happy to patronize brands that are honest about what they do and bring to the table. However, claiming authenticity cannot compare to actually being authentic. A simple rule to follow to achieve brand authenticity is not to say you’re authentic but to be one.
Social media also gave people a direct and quicker access to content and the ability to share materials with other users online. The opportunity opened by social media and the age of internet as well as mobile use can serve as a double-edged sword to branding. With so many articles, posts, tweets generated every minute and every hour of each day, it becomes difficult for people to discern which of theses are facts and which are not.
However, the speed and accessibility we get through the social greatly assist in either building up or discrediting a brand’s authenticity. People often post their opinions and what they know online, and this sometimes trends or become viral making it crucial for businesses to respond quickly, address issues, or acknowledge the positive branding people generate.
Marketers also make use of social media to relay the authenticity of their brands. There are plentiful ads we can find on the different social media platforms and some of these approach branding by conveying tales of people, stories which are related to their brands. One great example is the Johnnie Walker Ode to Lesvos that convincingly conveyed their “keep walking” tagline with the inspiring and sincere acts of compassion received by victims of the refugee crisis.
Valuing genuine content is an important branding strategy
In connection with the power of social media to share stories of sincerity, partnering or getting along well with real people to advocate for your brand using their stories of inspiration and earnestness is valid and valuable. There is no better way to build your brand than having people stand with and believe in what you value and what your brand is trying to present. Time and again we get to see how powerful it is for consumers to receive apt content, products, and services from people they can relate with and trust.
Branding is all about getting a good grasp of where your brand is going and at the same time directing it to cater to consumer demands. But an even better branding that works today is letting people realize the authenticity of your brand.
Vincent Spivey is a passionate writer, editor, and researcher for a decade. His expertise lies in business development, and he is currently connected with Livingston Loeffler law firm, where the intellectual property attorneys take care of your business like it was their own.