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Are You Being Authentic In YOUR Marketing?

As marketers, we don't just create for clients, we have a responsibility to be authentic and show our clients as their true selves.

In today's social media-obsessed world it is so easy to gloss over the facts, edit images, videos and general content to a point where it ceases to be real, or believable. And yet, sadly, people perceive this as being real.

In marketing, the term authenticity doesn’t change its meaning. Essentially, it’s the process of open communication, being on the same page as the audience you’re talking to. Creating a dialogue between your brand and your audience that’s natural and genuine is not necessarily about being honest or being ethical, though, as lots of people believe – instead, it’s a strategy marketers utilise to develop deeper communities based on trust and like-mindedness. Is this truly being AUTHENTIC?

Being "Authentic" doesn't always mean being HONEST. This needs to change if we have any hope of securing a future and stop living in the "NOW"


“Authenticity has nothing to do with how much you share. It is about what you share. Being authentic means being true to who you are as a person, writer, or company.”Neil Patel


When it comes to marketing, the term authenticity is often strewn around like lollies from a pinata when it comes to targeting millennial consumers, the highest-spending generation in 2020. "Marketoonist" Tom Fishbourne sums up the weird world of Marketing in many of his cartoons.

“Creatives — copywriters, art directors, and graphic designers — refuse to do advertising work for a product or service without a brief signed off by the client. Meanwhile, marketing people often fill out these briefs with the vaguest, most meaningless sentences possible that will make it impossible for the agency to blame them when the ads don’t work.”

For a long time, businesses have been very goal-orientated: “We need X number of followers or X amount of buyers this year”, etc. The online marketing world has seen a shift into a less tangible landscape. Instead, authenticity today isn’t about the goals and aims of a business, but about what they believe and their ideals.

Think about what you as an organisation believe. Authentic marketing must not feel engineered or orchestrated; it's about genuine "organisational self-expression driven by self-awareness".

Authentic marketing comes from your company's sincerely held philosophy, your core values. If your marketing direction conflicts with those values then you have compromised your purpose. Your marketing strategy should be an extension of your company vision, reflecting the very nature of the word “authentic”, being genuine - not being strategic to be seen as authentic.

What Is Authentic Content?

Traditional marketing banners, ads, and email blasts might result in sales but are easily forgotten by audiences who want to feel a connection with a brand before they consider opening their wallets. People are wary of flashy banners and and "junk mail" in today's digital-savvy world. Authentic marketing campaigns are much more relatable, creating a sense of like-mindedness, therefore a much more memorable connection, and long-term clients.

Essentially, you want to be creating content that reflects your company’s personality and your soul.

The Best Ways To Be Authentic?

  • User-Generated Content - Creates trust and builds a community around your brand with everyone jumping in. You’re not blasting promotions and products "at" your audience. Instead, you’re encouraging them to participate and feel like they are part of something bigger.

The classic notion of individuals as "consumers" was outdated as far back as 2012, yet many people still view their clients as such.

Consumers can now be seen as an active part of your business, user-generated content is reducing the influence of traditional marketing tactics, and also making "influencers" redundant. Showcasing content created by your audience also becomes its own referral system – nothing brings in more referrals than word-of-mouth – a proven boost to your ROI. Almost 90% of millennials believe UGC is a good indicator of whether a brand is good and trustworthy, carrying over into sales and awareness.

GoPro's Nick Woodman—a surfer, skier and motorsports enthusiast. In search of a better way to film himself and his friends surfing he started with a 35mm camera and a wrist strap made from old wetsuits and plastic scraps. The company has grown internationally with over 26 million GoPro cameras sold in more than 100 countries, due in no small way to user-generated content. It's still a HUGE part of their marketing today.

  • Instant Content - Social media platforms have become more and more in the NOW, with apps like Snapchat revealing a single moment in time, an unpolished version of your business from the here and now. Real-time updates are considered authentic due to the perceived lack of planning. They reveal your humanity as a business and make your brand more relatable to your audience.

Tom Hanks' Tweets while in quarantine in Australia, provided iconic Australian brand Vegemite a significant boost in its social media engagement. Found in 90% of Australian homes, and along with the striking yellow and red logo, it's one of the few things that come to mind when we think of Australia. This iconic Australian brand has a following of 476k on Facebook, 14.8k on Twitter, and 43.4k on Instagram.

Australians were quick to point out that Tom had spread too much Vegemite on his toast, providing advice on how it really should be prepared. Conversation generated!

  • Customer Stories & Case Studies - Customer stories are like the online version of word-of-mouth (and remember that nothing brings in more referrals than word-of-mouth). Around 90% of consumers said their buying decisions were influenced by reviews – TripAdvisor success has been reliant on this.

Reviews, customer stories, and case studies all have one thing in common: they reveal information and the viewpoint of real people. You are essentially using your happy customers to sing your praises, which is 10x more believable than you beating your own drum. Yes, we do occasionally receive negative reviews and stories, but responding to those in a positive manner is what reflects on your business.

Mini hit the Australian market in 1959

On Mini’s 60th anniversary, Mini's National marketing manager Alex McLean initiated the brand reaching out to its community to launch ‘Unexpected. Expected.’ A campaign celebrating the weird and the wonderful. Everyone has a Mini story. It’s a car that’s relatable, recognisable, and still makes people smile. Back when I was young teenagers were either Mini or VW fans, much like Ford and Holden of the 70s and 80s.

Everybody loves a good story, and they can even change the way we think and act. As marketers, we are well aware of the emotional connection and how we are always looking for new ways to tell and re-create our brand story.

"From a digital perspective, we decided to throw a party of sorts, and invite everyone to join in online. We wanted to do something that hadn’t really been done on Mini’s website before: to provide a platform for Mini owners across Australia to share their passion and delve further into the little quirks that make up this vibrant community. We know that the Mini community is very active online – they regularly participate in forums, Facebook groups, and on social media. But the communities are also quite disparate."

Mini created a special 60 Years hub, featuring stories from owners and enthusiasts across Australia. It's become home for some weird and wonderful Minis that don’t quite fit anywhere else, as well as a young racer with an inherited family heirloom. The passion for these quirky little cars with big hearts flows through all of these stories, resonating with owners, fans, and the general population, and now fans are able to submit their own stories to be shared by the company.

OK, so you now understand the nature of authentic marketing and why it’s so important to your business


Engage Your Customers:

Engage your audience by developing two-way communication. Instead of shoving your marketing down your audiences’ throats, include them in the process, allow them to be part of something.

Be Who Your Audience Wants & Needs:

It’s so easy for marketers to think they know what their audiences want, but have you ever asked? Get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Start surveying your audience, ask them questions, and actually listen to their responses.

Be Human:

Authenticity and “being human” go together like beer and peanuts. Think less about goals and hitting KPIs and more about how you can create a solid understanding and long-term relationships with your audience.

Be Truthful and Transparent

Being truthful and transparent isn’t about airing your political or religious views on social media unless it is 100% what your business is and does. Don't call out your competitors. instead, draw back the curtains on your business and stop hiding anything from your audience. Authentic marketing leaves no secrets unturned.

Don’t Beat Your Drum:

Not promoting yourself seems to be the opposite of marketing, it's counter-productive, right? You want to be promoting your product – isn’t that the whole point of marketing? > Not with authentic marketing!

Offer a solution to your audience’s problems, tap into their pain points (which you’ll have an understanding of if you've asked them), and answer any questions or concerns they might have. Touch on the doubts they might have about purchasing your product or service and show them how others have succeeded by investing in it.

Authentic marketing can be a minefield, but at its core its very simple:

Customers First.

When you start putting your customers first and foremost, you are instantly showing them they are important to you and that you are trustworthy - they can count on you. This builds a loyal community that is willing to share and shout to the world about your brand.

And there lies the POWER of authentic marketing - Are you ready to take the plunge?

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