Prof. Amit Shrivastava
Designation- Assistant Professor
Specialization- Marketing, Strategy and General Management
Authenticity is about comforting presence, living with conviction and staying true to others. Someone perceived authentic is questioned less, they are believed and exert influence. This is a social attribute and carries tremendous value. Trust is built on the pile of authenticity, which can be measured in terms of value. The authenticity is reflected through the values imbibed, being respectful, behaving humanly and shows in the culture of the organization.
Businesses are not different. The fundamental objective of all the marketing efforts is to build perception. Generally, the perception is not forgettable nor changes easily over time. Therefore, for the firm’s brand, the most sought perception is Authentic Brand. In the crisis, organizations do get opportunity to profit exponentially higher, but few forgo this undue advantage by behaving conscientiously, such firms are able to earn the Brand Authenticity.
Today, the large number of consumers buy not only the product based on characteristics but also give more importance to, if the firm is conscious of planetary issues. The consumer is concerned of fair-trade practices, manpower exploitation, environmental hazard related issues, being truthful to the population at large etc.. In this sense, essentially consumers associate with brands that exhibit the ideology through their business practices and products. This tendency has helped the proliferation of information platforms, which help an average consumer in investigating and validating the brand’s stand and establish its authenticity. The quality buyers look for brand ambassadors who are credible, qualified and experienced to advocate, thus authenticity is fathoming traction in the marketplace. This is to add value to the consumer, who is typically craving for distinction. It is an assurance of making choices which are more distinct and meaningful.
It is a common phenomenon, the claims (to be authentic) are rampant and brands can establish their rationale too, however consumers behave inert and rather invest in the brands they trust. The authenticity returns the loyalty and opposite brings remoteness and losing customers, therefore firms will have to be cognizant of how consumers perceive them because its lasting impact is their profit.
As they say – “When you can’t figure out, go seeking answers from the customers”. There are many media available for firms to listen as to what their customers talk; the medium can also be developed with sharper focus to build authenticity around the brand.
The marketing department has struggled along the course that despite investing substantially in advertising and marketing efforts, yet building authentic brand is difficult. Therefore, the brands which find some traction require to follow through for building an authentic brand.
In the current context, the firms are not in control of customer voice – the customers find their ways and platform to talk. Which is a data set in real sense for the firm’s marketing function. The customers generally talk about a brand when they have had certain experience and they could relate with few attributes of the brand. These voices could be a building block to develop Brand Authenticity. The organizations have been historically collecting data from the sales counter to formulate strategy, but the synthesis of direct consumer voice from various social media platforms can be extremely helpful in shaping up the authentic branding strategy.
There are firms who annually collect the customer feedback losing some important data set, but keen marketers take deliberate efforts to listen the customer voice on multiple platforms regularly. The firms must make the communication interactive to create consumer communities – thereby creating further opportunity for the customer to voice and firms to collect deep consumer cognitive insight.
The brand authenticity building is the task can be easier accomplished by realizing the human interaction is the reinforcement in this relationship. The firms which maintain this relationship, make the customer listen with the sense of trust and belief. The firms must maintain honesty with the customer, to nurture the relationship and strengthen it with time. You cannot completely control the social media hence strive to balance the organic content with the inorganic. The customer relates and feels connected with brands that echo their sentiment as opposed to if brands do not signal the similar emotions, the customer feels neglected and find the brand dishonest. In the world with issues and speculations – it makes more sense to own the mistake, because genuity breeds trust and customer start reasoning out with positive disposition.
The customers do not just wish to listen they also want to see you, hence be present with credible, trustworthy content in videos. Employees are your greatest assets use them as a loud advocate of your Authentic Brand, treat them well.
The customer will be loyal to the brands which are able to live the Brand Authenticity. The customers will care for your brand when you won’t be able to. They are not longing for something immaculate free of error experience – Be authentic and expect their loyalty and commitment in the longer run.