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The importance of authentic brand identity

In a competitive marketplace, the pressure is on brands to be all things to all customers. But authenticity is a customer magnet, and if you get it wrong, you risk pushing people away.

So let’s explore how establishing a strong, genuine voice can open up exciting opportunities for your brand in this digital age.

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Brand authenticity

Today’s consumers are bombarded with choice. Brands that stand out are those which resonate with their audiences.

Recent research in eight countries, including the UK, found that 94% of consumers say it’s important that a brand has a strong purpose.

And there can be no faking it. One recent survey among consumers in the UK, US and Australia found that 90% say that authenticity is important when choosing brands.

It’s particularly true among younger people. According to Ernst & Young: “Gen Z sniffs out inauthenticity with ease. They won’t overtly demand trust and transparency, but they will silently block a person or brand (literally and figuratively) from their lives and will have distaste for anything that looks, feels or is, to them, ‘fake’.”

Authentic storytelling

So how do you promote your values without appearing insincere? According to McKinsey: “A meaningful, resonant brand story - inspirational founders, brand origins, product ingredients, or social mission - is a powerful way to amplify perceived authenticity, connect to consumers, and drive loyalty.”

Origins stories abound. Penguin is proud of its humble roots. Founder Allen Lane couldn’t find anything to read while waiting for a train, so decided to start his own publishing house.

Social purpose is another huge draw. Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign broke new ground when it launched in 2004 with its depictions of women of all sizes, ethnicities, and ages. Dove has stayed true to that messaging ever since.

These kinds of campaigns serve to strengthen the bond between brand and customer.

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Personalised customer experiences

To build customer loyalty, it’s crucial that your values and stories form the bedrock of your communications. And your relationship with your customers has to be a two-way street.

You must welcome them in on the devices they use the most: mobile phones. A mobile-first approach to design and technology imposes limits on space, so prioritise your content, keeping a strong brand voice throughout.

Plus, some 80% of customers say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalised experiences, e.g. tailored content, suggested items, and loyalty schemes.

That involves getting their permission to access customer data – which requires offering transparency and authenticity to earn their trust.

The future

Authenticity and identity are also at the heart of the latest digital development: non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

These are unique digital assets that exist on a blockchain, and cannot be replicated. They are essentially collectibles, and have exploded onto the art scene in recent years.

Now, many experts believe NFTs are the next big thing in boosting customer loyalty and engagement – with far-sighted companies already exploring the possibilities.

One such brand is Hugo Boss, which has launched a TikTok challenge for customers to win one of five NFTs. The company says: “The artworks spotlight different baseball jackets in an imagined NYC environment, and come with a matching physical jacket with a QR code allowing you to wear it in augmented reality too.”

But just as with any collectible, customers will only be interested if the brand has a strong identity which resonates with them. So before leaping into the cybersphere, it’s vital that you know what you stand for.

Contact Linney today

At Linney, we love helping brands establish who they are, and letting their identity shine through their marketing. Contact us today to find out more about our omnichannel marketing services.

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