During one of our latest Integrate Online sessions we talked all about the authenticity boom – a recent trend in the marketing communications industry. Authenticity isn’t a new word, but has been showing up more across the industry, likely as a growing consumer need. Our panelists included the following: Takara T. Pierce, Alex McPherson and Justin Hoot. In addition, this conversation was moderated by IMC professor, Bonnie Harris. Here are the top 3 takeaways from the conversation:
You can't Manufacture Authenticity
If consumers are shifting their behaviors to support brands that align more closely with their values, how can brands meet this need? Ultimately, your actions have to align with everything you are saying – authenticity cannot be manufactured.
As many brands are going green with growing concern for our planet, there are now certifications to ensure that greenwashing is less likely to occur. Although these measures have been put in place to avoid greenwashing, there are still brands using buzz words like “sustainability” and “clean energy” without the actions to support their commitments. On the flip side, you have brands like Patagonia who radically transformed how they makes products and money, all while fundamentally understanding the importance of systems change. This brand practices its commitment to change internally and externally as it shares its mission with the world.
“We can’t all be Wendy’s”
The true art of authenticity is being true to your values and who you are as a person (or as a brand). When we utilize the platforms that are most suited to our personality, it feels genuine – it appears authentic. “We can’t all be Wendy’s.” Not every brand needs to be present on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Do you actually want to be online, or you want to be talked about online? Once you identify what platforms and messages align with your brand and the audience you wish to reach, there is a good chance you could achieve both.
To be Authentic is to be Fearless
We live in a world where both people and brands have hesitations about being authentic online. Some of this hesitation is fueled by cancel culture, while some of it is also fueled by intentions not aligning with consumers in a desired way.
If you are considering how to build authenticity into your brand strategy, it is time to be fearless. We live in a culture that has done a great job of recognizing mishaps, maybe it is time to move towards a place of building people and brands back up so that they can learn, grow and ultimately make the necessary changes. As humans, it is natural to make mistakes. While inevitably some mistakes are worse than others, greatness is achieved by experiencing failure.
When brands can say who they are and who they want to be without fear, we have a more realistic opportunity of achieving authenticity. So, next time you think about ways you can be more authentic, start by thinking about what is holding you back. Then, be fearless.
Interested in more information? Watch the full session below.
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