Why authenticity makes a difference to customer value
To stand out on the web and to truly resonate with your target audience, you need to be authentic online.
But what does this mean exactly?
Being authentic online means being unique
Nowadays, there are too many people online trying to “fit in” or focusing too much on “selling” their products – to the extent they’re willing to be a “sheep”.
But what does it mean to sell? Are you just another website trying to sell an object or experience, or are you selling your “why”? I.e. the reason or idea behind your product or service.
Brand personality: Every product or service should be grounded on an idea
In this day and age, more and more people are searching for authenticity – they crave the details, the idea, the “why”.
In fact, recent studies have shown that more than 86% of people base their brand decisions on authenticity!
Let's take the travel industry for instance. Do you think more people online are interested in airbrushed photos of beaches, or do you think they’d crave an honest authentic picture? A picture captured at a local destination, unstaged, and unphotoshopped?
Maybe some would prefer the airbrushed picture, but the likelihood of it looking like that in person is low, so why disappoint them? To create customer value you need to be honest and real.
Consumers crave an idea. They crave a unique brand personality. What is yours?
It might be the idea of a “like the locals” travel experience, or it might be as simple as the values behind your product – are you an ethical clothing brand? Do you sell cruelty-free products? What is it exactly that makes you unique?
Nowadays, the craving for authentic online experiences is growing, which means people can call BS from a mile away
When it comes to your online presence, being authentic, being real and being honest is becoming more and more crucial.
So, to help you avoid the BS, use your brand personality to be authentic online, and instil customer value, we’ve put together a few pointers!
So let’s dive in, shall we?
Make authenticity your top priority
Be true to your brand personality
- Be you. What are your values as a company? Are you exhibiting these? If you built a company on the foundation of ethical values, don’t be afraid to be different! Be hippy. Consumers appreciate it. And more importantly, follow-through. Don’t give in to norms.
- Be honest. Walk the walk. So your website presents an ethical front correct? But have you proven this? Are you using ethical resources? Are you involved in any related organisations? You can’t just say you’re ethical, you actually have to be.
Showcase who you are strategically
Discover the audience that understands your ethos
Remember, being “you” is important, but something just as important is ensuring that being “you” resonates with your target customers.
Every person has different values and opinions. And ideally, your values will align with your target audience.
If not, perhaps you’re targeting the wrong people? Don’t just go for people with the cash; target those who resonate with “you”.
True customer value is achieved when you connect with your target audience.
Avoid the ‘fake’ and be genuine online
Be relatable and be human
To capture the attention of your target customers, being “real” online will be a refreshing change from the copious “fakes” online.
In this day and age, being authentic online is a key differentiator from competitors.
An example; you might be a personal trainer. And as a personal trainer, you’re promoting a fit and healthy lifestyle correct?
But like anyone, you probably skip the gym every now and then right? After all, you’re only human.
Being honest about this will show potential clients that you’re just like them. It will make your service – and therefore; customer value – much more relatable and “real”.
Sounds like a more honest approach than photoshopping pictures of abs right?
Stop trying to be perfect
You’re only human
So far all these points all come back to this main idea of being honest and real right? Well, in the end they all sort of resonate with this unnecessary, universal need to be “perfect”.
There is no such thing as perfect, so don’t pretend you are. Stay true to your brand personality and be honest about your products or services.
Trying to be “perfect” will only result in negative outcomes:
1. People will call BS. Customers will think you don’t care about them are just trying to make money.
2. People won’t relate. Everyone has imperfections, so if you act perfect, customers won’t be able to relate to you.
A good example of this is the fashion industry – many companies still use unrealistic body types, and let's face it, most of us don’t look like that.
So if you want to relate to a wider – more realistic – audience, model your products on a range of body shapes. This will make you more relatable and authentic online.
Be true to you and provide customer value
So, what does it mean to be authentic online?
In a nutshell, being authentic online means providing your customers with a valuable experience and delivering – or even better; exceeding – what you promise.
Don’t just sell a product, sell a value, sell your “why”.
Your “why” is your values, it is the story behind your business, the passion behind your products and services – it is the benefits behind these.
It is the unique “you”.
Being authentic online will not only build trust in your target audience, but it will create a positive impact on their lives; it will create customer value.
Not to mention you’ll be defying the norms.