Watch This Episode of MwahTV About Brand Authenticity Misinterpretation
Hi, I’m Laura! With a face mask on.
And I’m Laura with Makeup on.
I’m Laura with styled-out hair and a cute outfit on.
And this is me as a filtered Disney Princess version of myself!
All of these versions of me are real – but is one of them more or less authentic?
And how does each version affect my Personal Brand as the owner and founder of Laura Pearman Creative?
It’s time to talk about AUTHENTICITY and a common branding mistake Brand Authenticity Misinterpretation
Why Brand Authenticity is Such a Hot Potato
We live in a time where the topic of authenticity is somewhat of a hot potato.
This is a result of the increase in technological advancements in hyper-realism. where we can literally filter our lives with simple photography and video augmentation. Where the pressure to seem like a perfect human being online has resulted in an extreme mental health crisis. Where we are being introduced to the metaverse with the optional addition of virtual reality it feels like this frantic grasping for the pursuit of authenticity is an impossible feat.
What does it really mean to be authentic when we are creatures and businesses with many facets?
And what does that have to do with our brand?
If you are so confused by this point that you don’t know what your party line is, or if this is a question you feel is too big and philosophical to worry about in your business, then by the end of this episode, you will know how this big topic impacts your business. You will have some clarity about how to feel more confident and comfortable about your sense of authenticity.
Why is Brand Authenticity Misinterpretation so common?
The concept of authenticity is a deep one. It's philosophical and given the time we live in where more and more versions of reality are being conceived, it's more and more complex.
The authenticity of personality is a sliding scale of comfort for different people. The world is full of a wonderful tapestry of different people who have a wide variety of personality traits and behaviours. This means that one person’s idea of what it means to be authentic is likely different to another.
So, when it comes to determining how to go about making your brand feel authentic it’s easy to see how this is so easily confused and misinterpreted.
What happens when you ignore Brand Authenticity Misinterpretation?
If you recognise that you are ignoring the idea of authenticity with your branding you will probably fit into one of these 3 camps.
You’re directly or indirectly a part of the problem. If you’re posting about living a perfect life with a perfect business and everything is impossibly perfect, I’m sorry to say you are part of the problem here.
As a business, this might look like “Here is a perfect customer who is perfectly delighted with our perfect service”, or “Our business is perfectly busy”, “We won a perfect award”, or “here is me in a perfect outfit at a perfect event”.
Not only is this incredibly boring, but it is also fake and inauthentic. There is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is impossible. So, when you subscribe to this line of branded communication it just makes you look like a brand that lies. It doesn’t matter to your prospects that those lies may be based on peer pressure, when subterfuge or deceit is created trust is lost.
You’re playing it too safe when you avoid the topic of authenticity with your brand. You feel like it’s better to play it cautiously by doing what other businesses in your industry and market share.
Your idea of speaking about vulnerability might be a little bit too dull like “we drink coffee here” or “we don’t like Mondays”. Yes, that is showing some vulnerability and you are not spouting the 24/7 perfection but at the same time, you’re not really being fully authentic.
Your customers are more astute than this and they will recognise that you have adopted a cautious approach.
Over time this will make them feel like they are unable to love your brand because they don’t know the full story.
Maybe you are at the other end of the spectrum with this. You feel deeply about most causes. You share your tuppence worth on anything controversial in the news in your communications, you support a wide array of very different causes.
Playing it too scattergun makes you seem too exaggerated over time.
This is like the little boy who cried wolf. The reaction to behaving like this makes people feel see your brand as a bit of a drama queen. If you flip-flop like this when it comes to proving that you are an authentic brand, then it must be a nightmare if you need to lodge a complaint as a customer.
You can see that no matter which camp you fall into here the result of not being authentic as a brand always results in mistrust.
How to overcome Brand Authenticity Misinterpretation
When it comes to overcoming your authenticity, you need to think about these 10 questions:
What are our weaknesses/flaws?
How do they make me/us feel?
Brainstorm these all out. It could be the personalities of the team as well as your collective weaknesses as a team, and your current business weaknesses or even flaws.
Which stories fit where on our scale of discomfort?
Take all of what you have written down and place them on a scale of discomfort about the idea of working these into your brand behaviour and marketing plan.
Your scale might look something like this.
Hell No. That’s too far, Uncomfortable & Nervous, Little Nervous, Unsure, Willing and nervous.
Challenge your placements with yourself. Especially if you place everything on the hell no end of the scale.
What are the weaknesses our customers have?
How do they feel about them?
If you have no idea what these might be that is a big indicator you need to work on getting to know your customers more deeply.
What do we feel strongly about as a business beyond the business?
A great way to brainstorm this is to use the classic marketing PESTLE model.
You can work out what you feel strongly about. Then ask yourself,
Which of these feelings fit well with the overall brand and business?
Why do the ones that don’t fit feel like a bad fit?
How could we make them fit with the brand?
What does that look like?
In A Muddle?
If you’d like to get my help in making sure your brand is as authentic as you can why not book a Cyber Cocktail?
This is a free 30-minute meeting on zoom where I can learn about your business and give you some tips and pointers for the right differentiation plan of action for your brand.
Pick a date and time on the calendar and fill in the form and you’re ready to rock.
What are the benefits for your business?
One of the scary benefits of behaving with increased authenticity is that it will turn people off from your brand. This might result in an increase of unsubscribes and in fewer enquiries coming into your business. At face value that feels scary.
These signs show that your authenticity is working. By repelling the wrong people away, you make more space for attracting better customers who will fall head over heels about your flavour of authenticity. This might result in an increase in subscribers, a higher conversion rate from enquiries and higher sales.
Are You Guilty of this Other Common Branding Mistake?
There is nothing worse than feeling like you are spinning your wheels.
Y'know putting in all the effort you can muster, but then seeing next to no significant results. A common branding mistake like this is often caused by spreading yourself too thin when it comes to your brand presence.
If this feels familiar, then check this episode out next.
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