Let’s talk about brand authenticity.
I came from the corporate world, and I watched “the suits” parade around in perfect business attire. I perceived them to have an air of authority or ‘aloofness” that I strived to emulate. When I entered into management some 25+ years ago (shhh – don’t tell) I was strongly encouraged not to form attachments or to get to know my staff, because “disciplining them later was going to be hard if we were friends”.
So, I maintained that aloofness and ended up developing a reputation among my staff as being unapproachable. (Me – Are you kidding!?) My superiors at the time applauded my management style and my ability to keep myself separate from the people I managed. There was no authenticity in that person I was told to portray.
That was then. This is now!
I have learned so much over the last 25 years, and management (leadership) has evolved so much since then. Marketing and branding have evolved as well, and I am thanking God for that.
Brand authenticity is the new queen. Today we care who the person or company IS with whom we are doing business. We care about what they believe, and what they stand for, and we, as consumers, have the right to know who is steering the ship. We want all the professionalism and the results (and we have a right to demand that) but we ALSO want to enjoy our experience with the company. Today’s leading companies do not simply sell a product or service well- they create a memorable customer experience.
Your customer experience needs to be communicated in your brand. That’s what makes for brand authenticity.
Your customers want to know more than that you will satisfy their needs, they want to know they will enjoy the ride.
As I pointed out in my post about using storytelling to enhance your brand, we need to move beyond the traditional marketing of service, product, experience, expertise, and distribution and showcase the US. What we think, we embrace, and even what we stand for as a business. We need to be real and showcase our brand authenticity.
I had an attitude-altering moment early on in my business. Once, a business advisor said to me “Lauren, you have a lovely smile – why not let your clients see it now and again”. As a business owner, I fell right back into the “aloofness” that labeled me so many years ago. No more I say, I let my humor out, I share my beliefs, I show the ‘real’ me. And you know what – I attract people as clients that I love to work with.
As strategic and ‘down to business as I am when I am working on marketing plans and brands, I have a goofy, fun-loving side as well. I am more than a bit of a ham and a ‘smart ass’. I am fast with the sarcasm (as long as it does not hurt feelings), I have strong faith and I love wine and coffee. I am who I am and THAT is my unique differentiating factor in my brand. Lots of people can work with speakers. Lots of people get great results. There is a multitude of marketing agencies out there. What will make you choose Pibworth in the end? The knowledge that we WILL provide all the results you are looking for – AND that you will have a great time while we do it.
Never forget that who you are is important. Who you are matters.
It matters to me. It matters to your friends and family. And it matters to your customers. Go out and be amazing today!