A ServerWise five part Series

How To Use Authenticity As The Foundation Of Your Long Term Growth Strategy While Staying Genuine

Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.

Howard Schultz

People want to buy from those they feel they know, like, and trust. That’s a universally held truth. The best way to earn the trust of your buyer persona is to be authentic in how you present yourself and your brand.

Authenticity has been a commonly-used buzzword recently. A term tossed around like a hacky sack on a college campus in the afternoon. It’s been so overused lately that it’s nearly lost all meaning to most people.

Authenticity means being your true self in both words and actions. Your words and actions should match; your passion should be evident, but can’t come across as an act. Even though the word has lost its meaning people still have a nose for real versus faux authenticity. 

Many entrepreneurs first starting out create an online persona to become the high-energy or rambunctious or super serious spokesperson for their brand. People can sniff that out and if they can’t trust your personality they won’t trust your brand.

Genuineness Increases Sales

Your honesty and integrity must be palpable when speaking to you, and your online persona must match who you are in real life.

If you’re associating yourself as your company’s spokesperson, you’re associating your brand with your personality. That’s not to say you can’t use profanity when enjoying a cocktail out with friends, but it does mean that you shouldn’t film a YouTube video about the importance of not drinking alcohol. The only thing worse than coming across as unauthentic is your customers seeing you as a hypocrite. That’ll get trending in short order, so don’t make bold statements that goes against who you are as a person.

Using brand authenticity for brand growth

Authenticity and Transparency: The 4 Keys to a Beautiful Brand That Sells

1

Be You Everywhere

The photo in your social media profiles, author bio box attached to your content, email signature and your customer service avatar should all be identical. Use the same image for yourself (and every employee) to create recognizability that will develop the trust with your customers.

Every communication you have – and every message you send should share the identical consistent imagery. This is how viewers develop the feeling of a relationship with you and your product or service – this is what will help convert them into buyers and eventually into strong sources for referral business.

2

If You Say You Care, Prove It

Do you know what makes your company stand out from your competitors? You. You’ve instilled a culture and attitude of service throughout your marketing, aftercare and product line. This is your greatest asset. Do you think Pepsi cares about their customers? No. But you do, and hopefully you’ll continue to care the larger your company gets.

Make sure you prove through action to every customer with a complaint or suggestion that you take their issue seriously and want to help. Send them a follow-up email a week later to check in. Ask if you can schedule a quick five-minute phone call to discuss the matter.

3

Be Honest And Don't Shy Away From Negativity

Today, when a brand lies about quality or ingredients, it isn’t just the local news they need to worry about. Social media reacts within the hour to any perceived slight, miscommunication or outright lie. Keep that in mind as you create your product, marketing strategy, return policy and customer service standards.

Almost just as important, make sure you, or someone you trust, responds to every negative comment and review about your brand. Monitor Yelp, TrustPilot, Google and Facebook Reviews and keep your customer service team active on Twitter. Negative reviews are inevitable but, believe it or not, they’re also a prime opportunity for you to get your brand some positive marketing. My colleague wrote an article that explains exactly how.

4

Create A Culture of Genuineness

We live in an age where 24/7 service is not appreciated but expected. Many businesses of all sizes have to outsource at least 8 hours a day of customer service to meet that expectation. Take a cue from Amazon and Dell and be honest when you outsource. Instruct your outsourced employees to use their real names and to be authentically themselves, particularly when a customer asks where they live.

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Charles Wilson
Charles Wilson
Charlie is a classic coder from the Northwest who loves all things retro, vintage and vinyl and has spent the last 15 years at a data security firm. After retiring, Charles fell into a second career helping his wife start her niche membership site that now boasts over 12,000 monthly members.