Social For Good
Plus X Brighton
Kerry Watkins is Managing Director of Social For Good and a part of the Plus X Brighton community. We are thrilled that Kerry has brought her expertise and insights to the Plus X blog with contributions on all things social media. Kicking off this month with an incredibly topical thought piece on Brand Authenticity.
‘Authenticity’ is a term that gets bandied around a lot these days and marketing is the forefront of it. Authenticity means ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.’
Brand authenticity has become increasingly important to consumers everywhere in our online, global information age where choice is great. And whether you’re launching or scaling, you’re slowly building your brand and impacting how others perceive you.
Our social channels play a huge role in managing our brand and our reputations. So how can you make sure you’re building your social presence in the right way that will give you longevity with your audience?
Is your brand authentic?
There are a lot of theories about brand authenticity but the journal of Consumer Psychology published the Perceived Brand Authenticity Scale (PBA) – a simple scale with 4 key measures.
You have a compelling brand story and/or history and your identity is not bound by time or trends. Your work, approach, values, voice and aesthetic is consistent across your brand. Wherever people engage with your brand, there is recognition and connection.
People trust you, can depend on you and believe that you will not betray them. You’re honest and deliver on your brand promise. Your confidence comes from your inner belief that you’re an expert in your field.
You have strong moral principles and a set of values you stay true to throughout your brand. You care about, and give back to, your customers, clients or those your support. You’re proud that your brand is original, genuine and doesn’t imitate others. Your values take precedence over commercial interests.
Your brand reflects what people care about, adds meaning to their lives and helps them connect with what’s important to them and their real selves. People relate to your brand on a human level as you help them to feel connected to a culture and community.
Essentially, brand authenticity is:
“The extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves”
But what does it really mean from a marketing perspective?
The vast majority of us use social media to market our businesses and communicate with our audience and we’re always trying to reach more people and get that cut-through.
How do we know, for example, if a brand we follow really stands for sustainability or is just greenwashing? How do we know if their social media content actually reflects their values (and our own) or if their latest post was inspired by a marketing calendar full of national days where engagement is likely to be high?
Maybe we can’t always tell. But we can get a good idea if we’re discerning about who we follow and engage with and look under the surface a little.
We strongly believe that, as marketers, we must ensure we are being truly authentic in our work. We must hold ourselves accountable and, to quote Seth Godin,
“Only do work that you’d be proud to do in front of your mum.”
Be true to yourself, share content that genuinely helps people and that reflects the values and needs of your audience. Be original, consistent and human. And maybe show your mum.
- Van-Dat Tran & Ching-Jui Keng (2018) The Brand Authenticity Scale: Development and Validation