In the second part of the walkthrough of the UAT-model (see the previous post for pt. 1 here) I want to touch on the concept of authenticity and how it can be used in creating a more defined brand profile or brand personality.
In this era of time, the concept of authenticity can be related to a lot of aspects of how we live our day to day lives. In a world where grand narratives such as religion, science, and political ideologies have lost their claim to be capable of presenting an objective, coherent truth about how the lives of individuals and society as a whole can and should be.
Authenticity has become a key component in how we define ourselves as well as other individuals. Being authentic is a positive term. Being authentic is popular speaking like being for real. We crave being-for-realness because a lot of our world is not exactly fake, but in the age of information overload, fake news and our own personal quest for success on a personal as well as a professional level there is a lot of pitfalls and blind alleys.
So authenticity is like an existential GPS that helps you feel and frame, what you think is being genuine and for real in your life and in the choices, you have to make as a person and as a consumer.
We see the need for authenticity in popular culture and in social media when a celebrity post a picture on Instagram that exposes hairy armpits, make a free picture or a bit of fat instead of the six-pack.
The founding concept of reality-tv was to capture the raw, emotional moments of conflict, mental break down and a genuine peek behind the facades that we all carry with us in our day to day life.
So how can you use authenticity in a brand-building context and don’t you risk losing that very authenticity the moment you use it for creating your brand? How do you prevent authenticity from ending up being just another performative act? This is what we will explore in the following.
Keeping an eye on what makes your brand authentic is the same as keeping an eye on the most important element of creating a bond of trust with your customers. Below are 4 points of reflective questions that you should consider when using authenticity in a brand-building context.
- What is your heritage? Like with real people we engage we like to know a bit of backstory. Use your backstory – however ordinary – as a strong point. What struggles did you overcome to actually create your product/service? What are your values behind your product/service on offer? Those kinds of questions are important to answer. And don’t try to paint a pretty picture. People will find out sooner rather than later. If you have a website or a blog. Then you have a perfect platform to build a story around your heritage.
- What’s your passion? Whether you are a one-person outfit or a team, what is it that makes you passionate about being in business? Is it the interaction with the customers? Is it because you want to create the best possible working environment for your employees? Is it because you provide something that will make the world a better place? Is it the quality of your product? Locate your sweet spot in your brand and make that passion clear in your interaction with the outside world. Passion will color your interactions with the customers. And more importantly – real passion will help you stay authentic instead of becoming an empty, performative act of marketing.
- What are your motives beyond profits? As customers, we hate being perceived merely as cash cows. We need to feel that we are being recognized as more than that. We are individuals. Make sure that you remember that aspect if you want to build a brand with a feel-good personality. Banks, in general, have a band standing in people’s minds. It’s a huge problem since you trust them with your money. My bank has a slogan – “What can we do for you?”. I know when I ask for advice or negotiate a new loan that it’s a business situation. So in terms of being authentic by bank needs to live up to the promise of their slogan. I don’t expect my bank to give me a loan deal that is bad business for them, but I expect fair and professional advice and if my bank doesn’t deliver on that account. Then it’s not really working according to their slogan, and hence it’s not being for real and it losses trust and ultimately comes across as being fake.
To sum up the above: make sure to work out a clear, coherent idea about your backstory/heritage, your drives and passions, and your business motives. Use it in as many aspects of your internal and external interactions as a company. Make it the spine of your brand building and you will be able to create a more vibrant brand profile that comes across as more trustworthy.
Next up we will touch upon the third and final element of the UAT-model which is talkability.
Thanks for reading!