Why brand authenticity is essential for modern brands
Rephraze builds modern brands on a foundation of four pillars: responsibility, disruption, authenticity, and sustainability. In this article, I will focus on explaining the importance of brand authenticity.
Modern brands should be exemplary leaders who shape culture and inspire others to follow them. Brand leadership falls into two categories; Active leaders, and Passive leaders.
Active leadership is based on actual convictions. These brands have a promise and a plan of action to chart their destiny. They are honest, decisive, bold, passionate, and humble. Success doesn't come by luck but through thoughtful strategic planning and execution. They empower their followers to do what they need them to do.
Passive leaders are those who lead according to public consensus. They wait to see what their competitors or customers are doing and follow suit. This is why so many brands look alike because there is nothing noteworthy that sets them apart from their competitors. They become followers and not leaders of culture. They play it safe and are afraid of rocking the boat. If your brand is here, you should consider a rebranding exercise or brand experience workshop.
We live in a society plagued with cover-ups where it's becoming harder to distinguish between what is genuine and fake. From glamour beauty shots that charm the audience to the fake news that allures us away from real facts, our reality is ever changing. The content we consume is skillfully curated and manipulative to sell dreams and fantasies. Honesty has become trivial at the cost of making a quick profit. Brands that journey down this path, destroy their image and customer relationships.
Social media has provided a platform unlike before that always allows people to portray the best of themselves. Relationships are built on superficial assumptions because we always see the best of everyone. We associate with people whom we perceive to be successful based on their profiles or statuses mainly because of how they make us feel or what we think we can get from them. Passive Brands are disposed to this kind of thinking and are likely to put up a facade that emulates perfection which in real life is unattainable and unhealthy. Pursuing relationships this way is a sure way for brands to disappoint their customers.
Active brands focus on building genuine relationships which take time. They articulate their brand promise and follow through, and in the event, they fail to deliver, they genuinely work hard to correct the wrong. They engage their customers by soliciting feedback to discover their strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, brands enter the human realm and can empathize with their customers. This bond empowers the customers to contribute to the brand's progress. In the event of adverse feedback, accepting responsibility and fixing problems builds loyalty and trust with those customers.
Passive brands suppress negative feedback because they think it will tarnish their brand's reputation. So they try to figure out ways to cover it up or shift the blame. The consequences of negative feedback may be defaming, but the process of correcting the wrong presents an opportunity to build relationships and trust if done right. News flash here, you are dealing with human beings who are very much aware of their imperfections. No one is perfect, not even the best brands. Overcoming struggles builds character and makes brands relatable, stronger and authentic.
In a society that is always-on and self-published content dominating the news cycles, brands should be more watchful of their image. A negative story can spread fast like wildfire and cause irreparable damage, so there should be an urgency in solving customer issues honestly within a reasonable time frame.
Brand authenticity is cultivated by engaging, listening, and understanding customers to genuinely build relationships because consumer stories and experiences are a powerful tool in marketing. Compromise on integrity and truth is a sure way to destroy a brand.
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